Charleston can clinch its highest finish in the Apollo Conference (second place) since the 2010-2011 season with a win tonight. It’s not like the Trojans needed any reason to be motivated for this game, though. The Coles County rivalry matchup of Mattoon and Charleston, which ends the Apollo Conference season, will feature extra excitement as Charleston celebrates Senior Night. 

Charleston has taken two games against Mattoon this season. Can the Trojans complete the season sweep?

Here is a preview of tonight’s game. 

Team Records: Mattoon (14-16, 4-7) @ Charleston (17-10, 7-4)

Where: Charleston High School

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Charleston High School

School Size: Mattoon (930), Charleston (796)

JV Tip-Off: 6:00

Varsity Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m.

Mattoon’s Past Results: Mattoon has lost three games in a row. That includes a six-point loss to Taylorville, a 40-point blowout loss to Mount Zion, and a 50-40 loss to Effingham St. Anthony. Mattoon lost to Teutopolis 68-39 on Tuesday. Mattoon has lost seven of its past eight games. 

Mattoon’s Team Stats: Mattoon is averaging 48.7 points per game, and allowing 47.5 points per game. 

Charleston’s Past Results: Charleston is coming off a 64-55 win over Paris on Tuesday in which Grady Smitley scored 24 points. Before that, Charleston lost to Olney, Mahomet-Seymour and Lincoln before upending Marshall by 16 points last Friday. 

Charleston’s Team Stats: Charleston is averaging 55.7 points per game and allowing 52.8 points per game. 

Last Matchup: Both teams met in the 11th/12th place game of the Effingham/Teutopolis Christmas Classic. Charleston came out with the victory, 53-47. Blaine Powers led Mattoon with 11 points, while William Applegate had a team-high 14 for Charleston. The second time the two teams played, Charleston defeated Mattoon 53-46 behind a defense that held Mattoon to 1-for-13 shooting during the final nine minutes and six seconds of the game. Jaksen Braun led Charleston with 14 points, while Cooper Bergstrom had 17 for Mattoon. 

Charleston will celebrate seniors Grady Smitley, Jackson Burgess, Jackson Becker, Kendall Pankey and Jaksen Braun. 

“This is a great group of young men that have played their hearts out this season,” said CHS coach Cody Drone. “They bought in to a new system and led the charge with the success we have had this year. Extremely proud of the precedent this group of seniors has laid down for future Charleston basketball teams and this Charleston basketball program.”

What Mattoon Said: “We have to shoot better and get the ball inside to our big men,” said MHS Coach Ryan Ghere. “We also need to defend better.  We didn’t play with a lot of energy on defense either time that we played them.  We need to start playing with a little more confidence and take care of the ball down the stretch. I am sure it will be a packed gym, especially with senior night.  It will be a fun way to end the regular season.”

What Charleston Said: “The atmosphere will be electric,” said Drone. “Our crowd will be going, their crowd will be going, and it is going to be quite loud in that gym. Happy I get to coach in an environment like this. We discuss a lot about playing the Charleston brand of basketball, playing with toughness, playing relentlessly and playing together. Will need to play the Charleston brand of basketball Thursday night. Limiting their inside play with Bradbury is also something we will focus on Thursday night along with getting great looks for our team on offense.”