The Mattoon girls basketball team relied on a defensive adjustment to earn a second Class 3A IHSA Regional girls basketball championship in three years after beating Centralia 56-48 on Friday at Herrin High School.

“I can’t say enough about this team,” Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt said. “I am so proud of them. They are such a joy to coach. They listen, are coachable, have great attitudes, and they have fun playing together.”

The Green Wave forced several turnovers that led to transition baskets after employing a zone defense in the second quarter. As a result, Mattoon outscored Centralia 15-7 and entered halftime ahead 34-25.

Mattoon (28-2) was unable to attempt a field goal during the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing the Annies to close within 48-43 with 2:25 left in the game. Mallory Ramage then split two defenders to lay in the Green Wave’s only field goal of the final period.

Strong rebounding, defensive pressure and solid free-throw shooting carried the team the rest of the way. Chloe Pruitt snagged two key rebounds, Lily Ghere partially blocked a shot, Ramage recorded a steal and Faith Niebrugge and Ramage each hit two free throws in the final minute.

“We had some big stops towards the end of the game,” Aydt said.

Mattoon takes on Troy Triad, a 55-53 winner over Waterloo, next Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Bethalto Civic Memorial.

Centralia 18791448

MATTOON: Ramage 8 15-20 32, Ghere 3 0-0 7, Pruitt 2 2-4 6, Farmer 2 0-0 4, Niebrugge 1 2-2 4. Totals 17 19-26 56. 3-pointers – Ghere 1, Maple 1, Ramage 1. Rebounding leaders – Niebrugge 8, Pruitt 8, Ramage 7. Steals leaders – Ramage 4, Niebrugge 3.