Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 18, 2013

Effingham downs Dieterich, wins invitational title

Braden Layer
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Through one quarter of play, it appeared as though the Movin' Maroons had carried a little bit of last night's magic over to their  Thursday evening battle against Effingham. 

A high-scoring first quarter still had Dieterich down two points, but their offense was going toe-to-toe with the heavily-favored Hearts.  When the second-quarter whistle blew, however, it appeared that the magic had finally run out. Effingham outscored the visiting team by 10 points in the second, eventually cruising to a 54-35 victory to lock up their tournament title.

"We made an effort to really try and push it," Hearts' coach Jeff Schafer said. "For the most part our offense executed really well tonight."

The Hearts' were at their best on the fast break, looking for any chance to move the ball up the court with tempo.  Effingham used a 7-2 run in the second quarter to extend their halftime lead to 33-21 behind the shooting of Caitlin Kaufman.

The junior scored all seven of her team's points in the final two minutes, the final three coming on a twine-tickling three-pointer as the clock wound under ten seconds.

Effingham also benefitted from going ten players deep on their roster, while the Maroons' played just six girls through the course of the night.

"We have a lot more depth than they do," Schafer said, "We really started playing there in the second."

This offensive surge would carry over into the second half, when an 8-2 run had the Hearts ahead by more than twenty points early in the fourth quarter. 

Yet it was not offense, but rather the Effingham defense that continued to hurt the opposition. 

The Hearts' full-court, trapping press  generated countless turnovers on the evening, forcing Dieterich players to repeatedly dribble into the corner. 

"We were making stupid mistakes on the press," Dieterich coach Donetta Ohnesorge said, "Dribbling to the sides when that's the only thing we stress over and over again in timeouts.  We didn't handle the pressure well at all tonight."

Early in the fourth, Effingham had the game locked up, ahead 49-27 as subs began coming in.

The Hearts utilized a balanced offensive attack, with four players scoring more than eight points.  Josie Zerrusen led the charge with 15, and Caitlin Kaufman pitched in had 13 points and six points as well.  Stephanie Robb and Kelli Utz each added eight for the Hearts.With a 4-0 record over the past four days, Effingham has locked up the invitational championship.  Now, all eyes turn toward the end of their season as the Hearts battle for an Apollo Conference title.  The team returns to action on Jan. 24 when take on Mt. Zion.For Dieterich, the loss puts them at 14-6, and 1-2 in tournament play.  Despite the disappointing result, Ohnesorge was pleased with her team's passion even after the game had been decided,"I was so proud, and that's what I told them," she said. "We're going to keep our heads held high and keep plugging away."The Maroons will look to bounce back tonight when they take on St. Anthony at 6:15 p.m.Dieterich 14 7 6 8 - 35Effingham 16 17 12 9 - 54Dieterich- Niemerg 15, Vahling 8, Meinhart 4, Wright 4, Flach 2, Higgs 2.Effingham- Zerrusen 15, Kaufman 13, Robb 8, Utz 8, Stephenson 3, Michael 2, Totten 2, Weiser 2, Field 1.