Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 17, 2014

Lady Hearts run win streak to 18

Ryan Czachorski
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — With a perfect record coming into Thursday’s Apollo Conference game with Mattoon, Effingham coach Jeff Schafer and his team has been on the same page for quite some time.

Schafer and his fellow coaches met outside the locker room at halftime with the Lady Hearts up 30-12 to go over adjustments for the second half.

Entering the locker room, he found out just how in sync he and his players were with the team’s gameplan.

“We go in there, and the first thing I say, they start laughing,” Schafer said. “They were like, ‘That’s exactly what we were talking about.’ That tells you you’re on the same page ... and when you have that, you have something special.”

That synergy has been the driving force for the Lady Hearts this season, and they moved to 18-0 Thursday night with a convincing 66-36 win over Mattoon. The win bumped Effingham to 6-0 in the Apollo.

Josie Zerrusen led all scorers with 19 points, jump starting the offense after a slow first few mintues.

With her team down 4-2 with 5:00 to play in the first, Zerrusen came down the court and buried two straight threes in 20 seconds. The lead would blossom from there, with Mattoon falling behind by double digits early in the second and never recovering.

Schafer praised his senior forward’s efforts on the night.

“Josie Zerrusen played one heck of a basketball game,” he said. “Her decision making the whole game was incredible. The 28 minutes she played, she was phenomenal tonight.”

Fellow senior Lauren Stephenson chipped in 12 points, with 10 coming in the first half to back up Zerrusen’s 16 first-half points.

While the offense ran primarily through the two in the first half, the floor opened up in the second.

Stephanie Robb finished with 10 points and was very effective in the transition game, Jantzen Michael scored seven points and Maddy Field added six off the bench.

“Our kids have really good basketball IQs,” Schafer said. “We got some easy baskets. I thought we did a lot better job getting everyone involved, Stephanie did a good job running the floor.

The Lady Wave were without starter Samantha Thompson, who also missed the Hearts’ and Wave’s first matchup earlier this season. Sierra Thompson topped Mattoon with 10 points.

Effingham takes a break from conference play next week, hosting its 13th Annual Round Robin Tournament from Monday to Friday next week.

The Hearts play Neoga at 7:45 p.m. Monday, followed by games with St. Anthony, Centralia and Dieterich over the next three nights. Effingham won last year’s edition of their Round Robin Tournament

Mattoon     8     4     12     12     36

Effingham     15     15     16     20     66

Mattoon: McCain 3, Considine 2, Cox 5, Jackson 2, Fisher 5, Phipps 2, Bath 7, Thompson 10

Effingham: Michael 7, Beals 2, Totten 4, Stephenson 12, Robb 10, Kaufman 2, Zerrusen 19, Nunamaker 2, Crowell 2, Field 6