Home court advantage is always a plus.
A winnable regional is even better.
The Mattoon Green Wave girls basketball team will begin their postseason with three other teams in the Class 3A Mattoon Regional tonight. Mattoon, the No. 3 seed, will battle No. 5 seeded Olney (Richland County) at 7:30. The first game will feature No. 2 seed Effingham and No. 9 seed Charleston at 6:00 with all games being played at MHS Gym.
Mattoon enters the game with a 13-16 overall record. The Green Wave have played Olney three times this year and have defeated the Tigers in all three matchups. Mattoon beat Olney 50-38 on November 26th at the Pana Thanksgiving Tournament. Mattoon defeated Olney 56-45 on December 27th at the Mattoon Christmas Tournament. The last time came on January 31st in non-conference action with a Mattoon win 53-44.
“We are looking forward to hosting regionals and playing our best basketball next week,” said head coach Troy Haacke. “They have very good shooters and Burgener is a very nice athletic all-around player. We have to limit their 3-point shots, rebound and execute our offense.”
Olney is 14-16 on the season and was 5-2 in the Little Illini Conference to finish third overall. Grayce Burgener leads the team with 10.6 points and 8.6 rebounds. Krystin Weiler brings 8.1 points per game for a team that averages 44.7 points per game. Olney closed out the regular season with two wins over Charleston and Centralia.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of Charleston and Effingham. Charleston brings a 2-23 regular season record against the 19-10 Hearts. Charleston has lost to Effingham in all three meetings. Their first loss was 66-7 on December 13th in conference action. The Trojans lost 74-17 on December 27th at the Charleston Holiday Tournament and then lost to Effingham 65-10 on January 31st.
“We would love to have another chance at Effingham or Charleston in the Regional championship game,” said Haacke. “I am very proud of how the girls have played this year, every game they give it their all. We are undersized in most games and yet we have been in almost every game with a chance to win many of them. Our strength of schedule is very tough and I feel like we have been battle tested and ready to finish the season strong.”