By Mike Monahan

Charleston coach A.J. Alexander was out sick.

So 2015 CHS graduate Colin McInerney took over and guided the Trojans to a relatively easy 59-45 triumph over Mattoon.

Charleston trailed 4-0 when they went on a 14-0 run in a span of 2:43 and never trailed again as the Trojans, who at one time led Mattoon by 23, went on to win the 11th place game Friday at the ninth annual Effingham/Teutopolis Christmas Classic. 

“Coaches Andy Mersman and coach DeVondre Gaston had a really great game plan against them,” said assistant coach McInerney. “We watched some game film and kind of knew what they were going to do and our guys executed really well. Hats off to them. “

Mattoon scored the first four points of the game before Charleston went on a 14-0 run, including six points by Luke Bonnstetter on back-to-back baskets for the only tie of the game at 4-4.

CHS took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Caleb Oakley. Baskets by Will Applegate and Luke Bonnstetter made it 14-4 before Mattoon ended the run with a basket by Jace Gardner.

Charleston led by 11 after the first eight minutes.

“The big key for us was to win the first quarter, “ said McInerney. “In our first three games, we had not won the first quarter yet. We came out today and won it 19-8. We got on them early which was a big key for us.”

Bonnstetter’s basket with 3:13 left in the second quarter put Charleston ahead by 27-13.

The Green Wave finished off the half on a good note.

Colton Smith started the run, which also included a three-point play by Christian Larson and a 3-pointer by Austin Boyer to make it 27-21. Charleston led 29-21 at the half.

“The last three minutes of the second quarter we played well,” said Mattoon coach Brandon Jones. “We have a lot of talking heads on the bench right now. Everyday is a new day. We played really great Thursday. Today we were tired and that was little bit of it. When something started going wrong they tried changing things and making adjustments and I wanted to stick to our game plan. Our man defense was not where it was supposed to ve and it didn’t work out for us. We will figure it out and get ready for Pana. Today was a big trust issue and a lack of energy.”

The Trojans were 11-of-14 (.786) during a span of 8:53 as they were able to get layups against Mattoon’s man-to-man defense. 

“I was trying to come off screens a lot, and they started to pick up on that a little bit,” said Applegate. “I was just trying to work on getting open from the ball screens so I could get open for 3-pointers.

In the first quarter, we came out really fast. In the second quarter, we slowed down a little bit. And, in the third, we knew we had to come out and play hard if we wanted to pull away. We executed pretty well in the third quarter.”

Charleston’s defense, which was mainly man-to-man, held Mattoon to 11-of-34 (.324) in the first three quarters, including just 3-of-12 in the third.

“We shored up something at halftime and came out in the third quarter on fire and stayed after it,” said McInerney. “It was good to get that big lead back and kind of relax in the fourth quarter. They (Mattoon) made a good comeback in the second quarter. It was good to get our lead back up where it needed to be.”

Applegate started the scoring in the third with a basket. A putback by James Hess made it 33-21. After a basket by Smith made it a 10-point game. Charleston put the game away with a 10-0 run in the next 2:24, including five points by Applegate and three by Caleb Oakley for a 43-23 advantage.

Charleston went on to win by 14. 

“We played mostly man, but threw in some zone just to try and trip them up a little bit,” said McInerney. “Our zone worked pretty well against them.”

As for the win, Applegate said: “It is huge. It is great to beat them. We always want to beat them. Hopefully, we can beat them two more times like last year. That is our goal.”

Brett Spour pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds as CHS outrebounded MHS.

“We knew size-wise we match up pretty weil this time,” said McInerney. “In years past, they have had taller players like Sam Bradbury, a 6-8 kid. We knew we had to crash the board hard offensively and defensively, and Brett did a great job of that. As did James and King.”

Applegate led the Trojans with 18 points, while Caleb Oakley and Bonnstetter had 11 points each. 

Larson led Mattoon with 13 points. 

Charleston improved to 5-8, while Mattoon dropped to 3-13. 

The two teams play again Friday at Charleston and then again Feb. 16 at Mattoon.

Charleston: 19 10 19 11–59

Mattoon: 8 13 6 18–45

CHARLESTON: Luke Bonnstetter 5 0-0 11, Caleb Oakley 4 1-1 11, Will Applegate 6 3-3 18, Brett Spour 1 0-0 2, Langdon King 2 0-1 4, James Hess 4 0-0 8, Tyler Oakley 1 0-0 3, Josh Sipes 1 0-0 2, Alex Kuykendall 0 0-0 0, Garvil Amartey 0 0-0 0, Totals 24-4-59.

3-pointers 7-15 ..467 (Bonnstetter 2-4, C. Oakley 2-5, Applegate 1-1, Spour 0-1, T. Oakley 1-3, Sipes 0-1) Rebounds: 33 (Spour 13). Free throw percentage 4-5 .800. Turnovers: 9, Field goal shooting: 24-51 .471

MATTOON: Blaine Powers 2 0-0 5, Jace Gardner 1 0-1 2, Colton Smith 6 0-0 13, Christian Larson 5 3-3 13, Andrew Wetzel 2 0-0 4, Austin Boyer 1 0-0 3, Bryce Jean 0 2-2 2, Jackson Helms 0 0-0 0, Taeriek Grace 1 1-2 3, Karson Rice 0 0-0 0, Totals 18 6-10 45.

3-point goals 3-12 .250. (Powers 1-3, Larson 0-3, Wetzel 0-3, Boyer 1-2, Helms 0-1, Smith 1-1) Free throw shooting 6-10 .600. Rebounds 24 (Larson 7). Turnovers 8. Shooting percentages: 18-47 .383.