Photos and story by Chet Piotrowski Jr.

Much attention has been given Ella Conyers, Emily Maple, and Lily Ghere who scored 30 points, 18 from behind the 3-point arc, in Mattoon’s 72-11 win over Charleston on Saturday morning.

But, often, it’s the play of Teygen Sewell that leads the Green Wave.

Sewell had an impressive stat line against Charleston – four points, seven rebounds, five steals, three blocks and three assists.

Haacke said Sewell’s unselfish play helps drive the offense.

“They’re starting to use her as a give-and-go,” Mattoon girls coach Troy Haacke said. “Emily has done a great job of that. Piper (Sanders) piggybacked off of that. Ella did today. That keeps us moving instead of just passing the ball around the perimeter.”

“My teammates are a huge part of me,” Sewell said. “ I want to see them succeed. They want to see me succeed. I’m the type of player that would rather see my teammates succeed over myself. So whatever it takes to win the game, that’s what I’m going to do. I know they have high expectations of me, and I have high expectations of them.”

Her teammates praise her for their success, especially her willingness to pass first.

“We feed Teygen whenever we can because she’s a strong facilitator,” said junior Emily Maple, who finished with 16 points. 

“We know when we enter it to her that she’s gonna make a smart decision and get our outside shooters an open shot,” she said. “It’s very important to get her the ball because she returns the favor and that’s just how we play. She definitely has some shots that we all say she should take, but she looks to pass which we never complain about. She does a great job of getting both offensive and defensive rebounds, and we all know no one can ever take the ball away from her.”

Sophomore Bella Masse said the team counts on Sewell’s vision to see the court for their success.

“She’s always looking to get it out to us on the wings, and she loves playing that in and out game with us, feeding her at the free-throw line and then kicking out to the shooter,” she said. “We know she’s not afraid to take it one-on-one with a girl down low though, too. She’s a main part of our offense because we can really build off of her. We can always count on her to hit us on the cuts to the rim or find us on the wing. She’s where a lot of our success comes from.”

Haacke appreciates Sewell’s unselfish play.

“We talk a lot about when the ball goes inside to Teygen, and they collapse on her. She’s such a good passer,” he said. “She’s so unselfish. She wants to pass it first before she shoots. We’d like her to shoot a little bit more. That frees other girls up.”

Getting Sewell to be more of scorer might require her to be not so selfless. She readily admits that she doesn’t have the confidence to shoot the ball because of a lack of varsity experience and would rather see her teammates succeed than see herself fail.

“In practice, we’re starting to work on me going up (to shoot) and having confidence,” she said. “That’s something I struggle with in having confidence on the court. In practice, I feel like no one’s watching. It’s just a work in progress. Hopefully, I’ll be there at the end of the season.

“I’ve always learned to be unselfish and be a team player,” she said. “I’ve been playing basketball since I was seven. I’ve grown up with teams that were selfish. It’s just new because I’m on varsity this year as a starter, and I don’t really have the experience.”

Haacke said they’re helping her build that confidence.

“We keep talking to her at practice,” he said. “We do a lot of guard-post breakdowns. (Friday) in practice, she was at the post working on her moves. It’s a little bit of confidence with her. I’d like to see her get some more offensive rebound putbacks because you’re right there, and all she has to do is go back strong.”

Sewell, though, enjoys her role and she would like to break the school’s all-time assist record.

“The record is 175,” she said. “We have about 30 games before postseason. I need about six a game. I think I do a good job of that, but there’s a line of knowing when I need to shoot the ball and when to kick it out and not just trying to get the record.”

Haacke believes Sewell is naturally a team player.

“I think it’s Teygen’s nature a little bit,” Haacke said. “One of her goals at the beginning of the season is to become the all-time school assist leader. If she passes and they make it, then that helps. Usually, you think of your guards feeding the post and that’s how you get it. We do it a little backwards. It’s working right now for us, and I’m glad they appreciate her.”

Sewell said she’ll take the shot when it becomes available. But she prefers to feed her teammates during the game.

“If we’re up by a lot, I know I can take it up,” she said. “If Emily is having a good game, I’m going to give it to Emily more. If Lily is having a good game, I’m going to give it to Lily. Then it just comes to a point if I’m open, then I’ll take the shot. I know a lot of teams know we run what we run, so they collapse in on me. I’m not going to force a shot. I’m going to kick it out to a teammate. If I notice a team isn’t guarding me, then I’m going to take the shot. If I am, then I’m going to pass it to a teammate.”

Charleston 045211

CHARLESTON: Okrasinski 1 1-2 3, Englum 1 0-0 2, Ferenbacher 1 0-0 2, Harris 1 0-0 2, Logsdon 1 0-0 2, Wanck-Clementi 0 0-2 0. Totals: 5 1-4 11.

MATTOON: Ghere 12 0-2 30, Maple 5 6-6 16, Sanders 5 0-0 10, Masse 1 1-2 3, Powers 1 0-0 2, Conyers 3 1-1 7, Sewell 2 0-0 4. 3-pointers: Ghere 6. Totals: 29 8-11 72.