Effingham Daily News
Effingham battled offensive woes in waves this season and found ways to win almost 80 percent of the time, but not on Wednesday.
Olney, one of the Hearts' 20 victims this year, ended Effingham's season with a 35-32 win in the Salem Regional, surviving a poor shooting night as well.
Alec St. Pierre scored four unanswered points to give Olney a 27-23 lead with less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Hearts came as close as one point when Isaac Foreman sank a turnaround jumper with 42 seconds left, to trail 33-32.
Leighton Lark missed a floater, down 35-32 with five seconds left, that gave Olney's Ethan Eagleson the chance to end the game at the free-throw line.
He missed both attempts and Olney fouled Lark before he launched a desperation 3-pointer from halfcourt. The Tigers had three fouls to give, so Effingham head coach Ron Reed said his team expected it.
Out of a timeout, Reed said he looked to get the ball in the hands of a cutting guard, who could create an opportunity for Lark or Kevin Daugherty.
But Olney's Chance Madden swatted away the inbounds pass, intended for Lark, and corralled the ball in front of his bench as time expired.
“It just didn't work out,” Reed said. “We couldn't get things going.”
The Hearts struggled for 11 first-half points, unable to take advantage of Olney's poor-shooting half. The Tigers made two 3-pointers en route to eight first-quarter points, but didn't make another until late in the third quarter. It didn't stop them from shooting.
“In the first half, (Olney) settled for threes, but it seemed like they made a certain point to try to get to the rim a little bit more in the second half,” Reed said.
It started when Madden made Olney's only field goal of the second quarter. Madden drove to the basket and made a layup, drawing a foul in the process, to give Olney a 14-11 halftime lead.
Effingham started the second half on a 7-0 run, kick started by a Marcus Robinson 3-pointer — the first of three he made in the game. He traded threes with Olney's Tate Nohren to draw to a 21-21 tie later in the quarter.
“We came out and Marcus hit a couple threes for us, but they were finally able to answer us,” Reed said. “I thought they were able to get out in the open floor and speed up a little bit.”
Olney answered the Hearts with a 9-3 run of their own to take a 23-21 lead into the fourth quarter. The Tigers sealed the win by making enough free throws, going 6-for-9 from the line.
Lark finished with a team-high 10 points, while Robinson added nine. Madden's 12 points led the Tigers. Effingham ends the season with a 20-6 record.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or email@example.com.
Effingham 6 5 10 11 32
Olney 8 6 9 12 35
Effingham: Robinson 9, Wohltman 6, Lark 10, Daugherty 2, Foreman 4, Carie 1
Olney: Et. Eagleson 5, Madden 12, Nohren 9, St. Pierre 9