Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
For the fourth time this season Mattoon faced off against Olney. This time with a berth in the Class 3A girls regional championship at Mattoon on the line, the Green Wave blew the doors off the Tigers in a convincing 63-38 win Monday evening. Mattoon previously beat Olney by 12, 11, and 9 points.
Mattoon (14-16) will now face Effingham (20-10) Friday for the regional championship.
The win was a team effort. Junior forward Teygen Sewell was a hair short of triple double, compiling 8 points 8 assists, and 9 rebounds. Junior guard Ella Conyers was on fire nailing five three-pointers en route to 17 points, while fellow junior guard Emily Maple played inspired ball leading the team with 18 points having the rest of the team energized behind them.
The Green Wave had 20 assists while only committing seven turnovers.
“This might be a season high or right at it,” Mattoon girls varsity head coach Troy Haacke said. “Sometimes 10, 12, 14. We pass pretty well. Teygen had 8. That’s a third of it.”
Haacke said Sewell had four offensive rebounds which were “big”.
“She’s everywhere right now,” he said. “It’s not just her offense, it’s her defense. She’s sliding out of the point. I don’t know how many jump balls she created. She’s just creating havoc. She got stuck guarding their (Olney) best player for a bit because we were struggling with her.”
Olney junior Grayce Burgener led all scorers with 20 points.
Haacke wanted Sewell to get that elusive triple-double, but Sewell fouled out with less than five minutes remaining.
“Its just nerve wracking coming in and playing a team four times,” Sewell said. “I knew they were going to come out hard. They know we have shooters so it’s my time to step up and shoot the ball.”
The near trifecta appeared almost effortless.
I always give it a 110 percent,” she said. “It might be hard to see. It just comes with good defense and practice. If you’re going to collapse on me, I have four people on the perimeter to pass it too.”
Haacke said they didn’t rush the offense and were patient.
“We didn’t rush shots like we sometimes do,” he said. “We worked together. They played good defense and closed out. The girls found ways to get open.”
Haacke praised Maple for making a big shot in the third quarter propelling them into the fourth.
Mattoon outscored Olney 20-10 in the third quarter extending their 10-point halftime lead by 20 going into the final frame.
“They have that freedom, especially Emily (Maple), to freelance a little bit.”
“We were ready,” Maple said. “I felt like we passed the ball really well. We got open shots. Some of them didn’t fall. We worked really well tonight.”
In facing Effingham Friday night, Haacke said they need to execute their offense well and slow down the Heart’s shooters.
“They (Effingham) are good,” Haacke said. “They play defense really well.”
OLNEY – Weiler 1 0-0 3, Bloomer 0 2-4 2, Gibson 4 1-2 11, Burgener 6 8-12 20, Brown 1 0-0 2. 3-pointers: Weiler 1, Gibson 2, Totals: 12 11-18 38.
MATTOON – Ghere 4 1-2 10, Maple 8 0-0 18, Sanders 2 0-0 4, Masse 3 0-0 6, Conyers 6 0-0 17, Sewell 4 0-0 8. 3-pointers: Ghere 1, Maple 2, Conyers 5. Totals: 27 1-2 63.