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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mattoon Tourney Preview

From the Mattoon newspaper....


MATTOON — The biggest school and the smallest – if you consider the IHSA’s multiplier for non-public school Effingham St. Anthony – are to meet in the first round of the Mattoon Girls’ Basketball Christmas Tournament.
Newcomer Galesburg, 5-5 with a four-game winning streak, brings a 1,320 enrollment to become an instant contender in this 35th annual event set for Thursday through Saturday.
Cumberland, enrollment 281 with an 0-11 record in a building season, is the first team in the tourney looking to keep pace with coach Evan Massey’s Grinnell-style fast-paced, 3-point shooting offense in the day’s fourth game scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at the Mattoon High School gym.
“We’ll just go out there and play our game,” Cumberland coach Chasity Dunaway said. “There is no rocket scientist to this game. You just play as a team.”
Cumberland is one of two Class 1A girls’ basketball teams in the field of eight.
The other 1A is St. Anthony with 181 students and even with the multiplied 298 IHSA figure still stays in the smallest of the four classes.
The Lady Bulldogs bring the best record into the tourney at 7-1 but were shown beatable in a 45-15 loss to Teutopolis.
“I just think we can put on a competitive show every game out,” St. Anthony coach Bart Wiedman said. “This is the toughest part of our schedule right now. So far the biggest school we’ve faced is Teutopolis.”
Now his Lady Bulldogs are in a tourney with five Class 3A teams, including the defending champion Olney team with perhaps the closes thing to the median enrollment of 623.
Thompson is back
Picking a favorite is rather difficult for this field that includes schools from 309, 217 and 618 area codes.
“I know Salem is always really competitive and they will play hard,” Wiedman said. “Olney has the (Kelsey) Shipman and (Marley) Miller girl who are both really good basketball players. Galesburg is new to the tournament and Mattoon is always good especially at home.”
Mattoon coach Jason Morgan is hoping his team gets a boost by the return of All-Apollo Conference forward Sammy Thompson, who has missed the five games for the Lady Green Wave with a knee injury.
In the junior’s absence Mattoon has lost its last four games to fall to 4-6.
“She has practiced the last couple of days,” Morgan said. “She’s probably 70, 75 percent. She’s obviously going to be a little bit out shape but she can help us.”
Thompson is averaging 7.6 points in her five games, second on the Lady Wave to senior forward Kaitlyn Bath’s 8.9 per game.
Now Mattoon is hoping to be among the contenders after a fourth-place finish in last year’s tourney.
“Obviously, we’ve seen Salem,” said Morgan whose team lost to the Lady Wildcats 66-46. “We know how tough Salem is. Galesburg is the one that is tough too. They run the Grinnell system. They rotate and put a lot of kids in. I like our chances too.”
Olney seeks repeat
Olney not only is the defending champion but has the returning tournament Most Valuable Player in Shipman, who is averaging 13.8 points this season while shooting .397 from the field, and another all-tourney selection Miller, averaging 15.6 points while shooting .399.
Three starters from season’s team graduated with the Lady Tigers now 7-5 after last week’s losses to Flora and Teutopolis.
“We’re off to a good start,” Olney coach Mark Anselment said. “We’re off to I think a better start than our record would show. We were 2-3 at the Salem tournament and played well after that.”
Now his team is trying for another enjoyable holiday week.
“It’s always a great tournament with a lot of competitive teams,” Anselment said. “We’re looking to defend our title. That’s where our goals are but we also know everyone is going to be gunning for us as defending champs so we’re going to have to play well.
Rise and ?
Olney is to start open the tourney with an 8:30 a.m. breakfast at the ballgame special against Decatur MacArthur on Thursday.
“MacArthur is going to have to play at the same time,” Anselment said. “It won’t just be us. We practice at 8:30 a.m. on the weekends pretty much all through the year. That’s nothing new to us. We’ll have an hour and a half bus ride. I don’t think we’ve ever had to play that first game. Somebody’s got to play it. We’re not going to let that affect us.”
In Friday’s third round Olney is to play Salem in a rematch of last year’s championship game the Lady Tigers won 80-73.
The two 618-area code teams are former North Egypt and then Apollo Conference rivals but last school year Olney moved from the Apollo to Little Illini Conference so Friday marks the first meeting between the two.
“It should be a good game,” Anselment said. “We’ll have to play well if we want a shot at defending our title.”
Galesburg on a roll
A loss in pool play does not necessarily eliminate a team in this five-games-in-three-days tourney that can include rematches in finals.
Galesburg, making the switch after a runner-up finish in last year’s Charleston tournament, is new to this format and now tests its up-tempo style for five games.
Other coaches are likely to take a curious watch when the Lady Streaks play their first Mattoon tourney game.
“I don’t really know a whole lot about them but I’d say they are going to be looking to make a statement,” Anselment said. “Mattoon and Salem are always tough. It’s just one of those things where it’s a great tournament because there is not one game where you know you should win. You have to play well.”
Galesburg’s Lady Silver Streaks have some momentum.
“We started out 1-4,” said Massey who has a 769-279 record in his 35th year as the coach. “We started out the season pretty inexperienced. We have been playing one freshman and four sophomores in our rotation. Our first two losses were games we led and then lost by three and five points. We have now won four of our last five games and have played pretty well. Last week we had a very good week beating Quincy by 30-plus points and then beating Maine South by 10-plus.”
While Massey has those underclassmen in his rotation, Galesburg’s rotation is deeper than most frequently substituting five players at a time on a set schedule.
Six-foot-one sophomore Shayli Florine is averaging 13.5 points and 9.0 rebounds for the Lady Streaks, 5-9 junior Sabrina Clay 12.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, 5-6 senior Haley Kelso 10.3 points and 5-8 junior Casey Williams 7.5 points.
“We have tried to sell our players on being a team that grows,” Massey said. “When we were 1-4, they didn’t panic. They kept working and listening. We just want to keep improving. We feel like we are a much better team than we were a month ago, and if we improve as much in the next month we will be excited.”
Now for the walls
Cumberland is trying to take those steps of progress as well with two freshmen in the lineup while sophomore Katie Poe is the scoring leader at 8.1 points for a team averaging 23.8 per game.
“We have a very, very young team and we’re still working on building a team rapport,” Dunaway said. “We finally have a foundation built and now we’re working on building walls. We knew it was going to be a building year. Our focus this year is on building our team for the future.
“I can indeed say that Katie Poe has stepped up to be a big leader on this team which is why she is chosen as speaking captain. Not just parents but other fans are coming up to me and saying how they see how they are working together compared to even two weeks ago.”
Another month another title?
St. Anthony has already won the National Trail Conference tournament played in November.
The Lady Bulldogs have a couple of players leading its strong start with Kate Richards averaging 14 points and 5.0 rebounds and Megan Nuxoll 11.9 points and 9.4 rebounds.
“We just like to get out and play really solid man-to-man defense and put ourselves in a position to score with high percentage shots,” Weidman said.
Contact Nielsen at bnielsen@jg-tc.com or 217-238-6856.
MATTOON CHRISTMAS TOURNAMENT
Thursday
Game 1: Decatur MacArthur vs. Olney, 8:30 a.m.
Game 2: Effingham St. Anthony vs. Salem, 10 a.m.
Game 3: Vandalia vs. Mattoon, 11:30 a.m.
Game 4: Galesburg vs. Cumberland, 1 p.m.
Game 5: Olney vs. Effingham St. Anthony, 3 p.m.
Game 6: Salem vs. Mac Arthur, 4:30 p.m.
Game 7: Vandalia vs. Galesburg, 6 p.m.
Game 8: Mattoon vs. Cumberland, 7:30 p.m.
Friday
Game 9: Decatur Mac Arthur vs. St. Anthony, 8:30 a.m.
Game 10: Olney vs. Salem, 10 a.m.
Game 11: Mattoon vs. Galesburg, 11:30 a.m.
Game 12: Cumberland vs. Vandalia, 1 p.m.
Game 13: Third place in Pool A vs. fourth place in Pool B, 4 p.m.
Game 14: Fourth place in Pool A vs. third place in Pool B, 5:30 p.m.
Game 15: First place in Pool A vs. second place in Pool B, 7 p.m.
Game 16: Second place in Pool A vs. first place in Pool B, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday
Game 17: Loser of game 13 vs. loser of game 14, 11 a.m. for seventh place
Game 18: Winner of game 13 vs. winner of game 14, 12:30 a.m. for fifth place
Game 19: Loser of game 15 vs. loser of game 16, 2 p.m. for third place
Game 20: Winner of game 15 vs. winner of game 16, 3:30 p.m. for championship
Some players to watch
Keslsey Shipman, Olney: Last year’s tournament Most Valuable Player is averaging 13.8 points this season.
Kaitlyn Bath, Mattoon: Battling against taller players in the post, the 5-foot-8 senior is averaging 8.9 points.
Shayli Florine, Galesburg: The 6-1 sophomore is averaging 13.5 points for a team with several weapons.
Shelby Holst, Salem: The coach’s daughter scored 23 points in last week’s win over Mattoon
Katie Poe, Cumberland: As a freshman last season she won the state’s Class 2A Three-Point Showdown
Kate Richards, Effingham St. Anthony: She is scoring 14 points while teammate Megan Nuxoll leads the rebounding.

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