By Mike Monahan
It was another tight loss for Mattoon High girls basketball.
Like in six previous losses, the Green Wave fell to an opponent by fewer than six points Thursday night – 60-57 to Teutopolis.
Mattoon (8-9) held a 34-22 lead at halftime over Teutopolis, the No. 4 team in Class 2A and the recent Charleston Holiday Tournament champions.
Earlier, it looked like the Green Wave would pick up a big win, leading by 14 late in the first half and by 13 early in the second half before the Lady Shoes rallied to go ahead.
Mattoon’s Emily Maple, though, made one of two free throws to knot the game at 51 with 36 seconds left.
“We were man-to-man in the final minutes of regulation,” said Mattoon coach Troy Haacke. “We played about four different defenses throughout the game. We were trying to confuse them and maybe force some of the kids to shoot the ball that are not necessarily used to shooting the ball and, hopefully, get the rebound and get down the court.”
Teutopolis (16-2) took the lead for good in overtime on a pair of free throws by 6-foot senior Emily Konkel with 2:56 left. Another two free throws by Konkel made it 59-55 with 6.4 seconds remaining.
Mattoon’s defense forced a heavily-guarded shot by the Lady Shoes as the clock ran out.
“The first half was fun,” said Haacke. “The girls ran and executed everything that we would practice. They are starting to figure it out real well and working together and making good passes.”
Josh Cottrill, 19th year as an assistant, filling in for Teutopolis head coach Laurie Thompson, who was out with strep throat.
“We went on a stretch there where we had several shots that we knocked down, and then the free throws: we hit them and shot them well at the end,” said Cottrill. “I was happy with the second half, not so much the first half.”
Teutopolis made just 9-of-25 (.360) from the field in the first 17 minutes, 6 seconds. But the Shoes made five of six field goals and outscored MHS 15-5 during a nearly five minute stretch of the fourth quarter to go ahead 51-50.
“I thought our defense was not good and in the second half, when we came out and played with some effort,” said Cottill. “We were able to get stops and chip away at it. The effort was the difference in my opinion. “
The first quarter featured six lead changes, with no lead larger than three points.
Mattoon led 23-19 in the second quarter against the Wooden Shoes’ man-to-man defense and scored 11 unanswered points in a span of 3:15. Lily Ghere scored as did Teygen Sewell on a pass from Emily Maple. After a free throw by Teutopolis’ Estella Mette, Ella Conyers made one of her six 3-pointers (6-11). Maple scored four straight points, including one on a putback. Mattoon had its largest lead of the game, 34-20 with 1:34 left in the first half.
“Ella got hot, which is always nice,” said Haacke. “She is a great shooter, but it wasn’t only that. We got layups. Our defense was outstanding. We got stops, rebounds, and they didn’t get multiple shots in a row. That was big.”
Mattoon outrebounded the Wooden Shoes 19-14 at half, but were outrebounded in the second half by a 21-16 margin in the second half and overtime.
Mattoon led 34-22 at the half against a team whose two losses were to Highland and Paris.
“There weren’t a whole lot of adjustments made,” said Cottrill. “In the second half our effort level was a lot better. I felt in the first half that we came into this game and it is a little different with coach Thompson not being here, having a different coach on the bench. But that is not an excuse for the effort we put forth, I didn’t think.”
Haacke knew Teutopolis would make adjustments in the second half.
“They came out, and we didn’t get our offense rolling quite the way we wanted to,” said Haacke. “They started pounding the paint a little bit more and Sewell got in foul trouble. That makes it a little harder to get rebounds down there.”
Teutopolis trailed 40-30 with 4:36 left in the third after a 3-pointer by Conyers. However, the Wooden Shoes scored the last six points in the third, including four by Kaylee Niebrugge.
Haacke praised Conyers’ defense, who covered Niebrugge when the team played in a box-and-one.
“Conyers did a wonderful job,” said Haacke. “She was outmatched in size (5-foot-5 against a 5-9 player) and strength. She plays as hard as she can and works and fights like crazy. Watching the film it showed that Niebrugge was their go to girl;. Konkel can step out and knock shots down., but there height she can shoot over people.. Molly Ruholl came in and played great for them and knocked down some big shots for them.”
Ruholl scored 15 points, all on 3-pointers, while Neibrugge had 19 and Konkel 17 for the Wooden Shoes.
“Mattoon took care of the ball very well,” said Cottrill. “A lot of times we did some things off of defense and they have some good ball-handling players that typically when we come here they usually do. Some of the things we normally do, we can’t do. But then the things that we could do in the first half, we simply were not doing as a result-lack of focus or effort. Our girls did a great job in the second half. I have to give them credit they were down 12 at halftime and came out with a little bit of fire instead of saying ‘oh, gosh, this game is over’ We came out like we were going to play, and it was much better for sure.”
Maple finished with 15 points.
The Green Wave return to Apollo Conference as they look for their first win (0-5) playing host to Charleston at noon Saturday.
MATTOON: Lily Ghere 4 0-0 9, Emily Maple 5 5-9-15, Piper Sanders 3 2-3 8, Ella Conyers 6 0-0 18, Teygen Sewell 2 0-0 4, Isabella Masse 1 0-0 3, Ava Larson 0 0-0 0, Teygen Sewell 2 0-0 4, Blair Powers 0 0-0 0, Totals 21 7-12 57.
3-point goals: Teutopolis 7-17 (.539). Molly Ruholl 5-6, Emily Konkel 1-2, Joleen Deters 0-2, Kaylee Niebrugge 1-5, Estella Mette 0-2)) Mattoon 8-23 .348 (Conyers 6-11, Ghere 1-4, Masse 1-1, Maple 0-7). Rebounds: Teutopolis 40 (Niebrugge 9), Mattoon 30 (Sewell 8). Free throw shooting percentages: Teutopolis 13-18 .722, Mattoon 7-12 .583. Turnovers: Teutopolis 10, Mattoon 6. Shooting percentages; Teutopolis 20-53 .377; Mattoon 21-52 .404