Jeff Schafer will take a win and a learning experience any day.
Effingham’s head coach watched his team make four straight poor decisions with two minutes left in the game against Centralia on Tuesday.
First, a low-post shot by Josie Zerrusen in the middle of a double team. Then, a quick 3-point shot by Jantzen Michael. Third, a deep pass on an out-of-bounds play. Finally, a pass up the floor and into the middle of Centralia’s full-court press.
“Basically everybody but Felicia (Totten) made a stupid play,” Schafer said. “Five people out there and four of them made stupid plays in the last two minutes.”
But the two missed shots and two turnovers turned into only two points for Centralia, as the Hearts won, 44-32, and clinched the Effingham Round Robin tournament championship.
The Flaming Hearts improved to 21-0 this season and with this particular win came a lesson.
“The positive thing is we can go in the locker room right now and use that as a learning point without getting a loss,” Schafer said. “Usually you don’t get to talk about learning experiences when you win.”
Lauren Stephenson’s deep pass, one of the aforementioned four mistakes, was the only play Schafer said he was fine with because she wasn’t afraid to throw it.
Centralia stole the pass and Schafer said it should’ve been thrown to the other side of the court, for Zerrusen who had a better speed matchup.
Schafer said his restraint to call a timeout during the lull — he had four — meant he’s confident in his team; after all, the Hearts are undefeated.
“I thought about using them, but I have to trust (the team),” Schafer said.
The Hearts clung to a five-point lead at halftime, 27-22, but scored the first five points of the third quarter and extended the lead to 13 points by the fourth.
Zerrusen led the Hearts with 11 points, while Stephenson finished with 10. Caitlin Kaufman and Stephanie Robb added eight apiece.
Eight players scored for Centralia, but nobody had more than eight points. The Hearts held Abbey Holtkamp to eight points — her lowest scoring output of the tournament.
Schafer said his defense gave the Hearts an opportunity to put the game away and, although they didn’t, the rebounding effort was a big part of the win.
“When we did shoot the ball poorly, we did pound the boards,” Schafer said.
The Hearts play their final game of the tournament at 7:45 p.m. Thursday against Dieterich.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Effingham 16 11 10 7 44
Centralia 10 12 2 8 32
Effingham: Michael 3, Stephenson 10, Kaufman 8, Robb 8, Zerrusen 11, Field 4
Centralia: Smith 4, Schwartz 4, Cunningham 2, Hutton 2, Engelkins 4, Mays 4, Holtkamp 8, Starr 4
Jeff Schafer will take a win and a learning experience any day.
Comeback win keeps Post 20 alive in 10-7 win
Newton Post 120 didn’t let a 4-1 deficit get to them against Highland Post 439, using a patient approach in the face of an elimination game.
Three bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the third tied the game at 4-4, and with the bases loaded down 5-4 in the fourth, Tim Weber broke the game open with a two-run double and an error.
By the time the dust settled, Newton led 10-5 heading to the sixth inning and would hold on to a 10-7 win to keep its season alive.
Salem deals Newton first divisional loss
Mitch Bierman started off Newton Post 20’s game against Salem Post 128 with a bang Sunday afternoon, hitting a leadoff triple and scoring on the next batter.
Post 20’s offense didn’t follow his lead from there, as Newton had just three more hits and no runs, and falling in a Junior Legion Fifth Division winner’s bracket game to Salem 12-1 in seven innings.
Newton Post 20 bests Belleville Post 58 in opener 6-1
After a 9-3 loss to Breese Post 252 Gray Monday night, Newton Post 20 coach John Grunloh predicted the five-day break until the Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament would be good for his players, especially his pitchers.Mitch Jansen proved his coach right, spinning a gem in Newton's opener Saturday afternoon as Post 20 made short work of Belleville Post 58 6-1.
Hearts to prep with Mattoon 7-on-7
Two weeks ago, Effingham was supposed to start shaking off the rust with a 7-on-7 football tournament in Mattoon. Naturally, it rained and was canceled.
So Saturday, the Flaming Hearts will head up to Mattoon and play their first 7-on-7 event of the season, taking part in an 10- team field with Mattoon, Rochester, Robinson, Marshall, Cahokia and Pleasant Plains from Illinois, with Terre Haute North and Northview coming from Indiana. Rochester is bringing two squads.
Newton Post 20 plays Belleville Saturday
With the District 23 tournament behind them, Newton Post 20 now knows its fate for the Fifth Division Junior Legion tournament this weekend in Bethalto.
Newton will play Belleville Post 58 at 2:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Bethalto, in the third game of six on the day.
Effingham's season comes to a close with 11-1 loss to Salem
A 1-0 lead for Effingham Post 120 rapidly evaporated, and the post’s Junior Legion season came to an end with a 11-1 loss in five innings to Salem Post 128 Tuesday night.
The game was for the final spot of District 23 in the divisional tournament, with Newton Post 20 and Breese Post 252 Gray punching their tickets by winning their district divisions.
Newton Post 20 falls short against Breese Gray 9-3
While the District 23 title ultimately exceeded Newton Post 20’s grasp, their season will continue in Bethalto.
Newton took on Breese Post 252 Gray for the Junior Legion District 23 title as the two division winners, but Breese’s bats proved too much for Newton in an 9-3 loss for Post 20.
“The innings where they put some runs on us, we gave them some extra outs,” said Newton coach John Grunloh. “You’ve got to make the plays when you play better teams.”
Barnes' one-hitter boosts Post 120; Effingham beats Dieterich 1-0
Ryan Barnes hasn’t seen a lot of time with Effingham Post 120’s junior legion team this season, but he showed up in a big way Monday night in a 1-0 win over Dieterich Post 628.
The win kept Effingham’s season alive one more day in the Junior Legion District 23 tournament, as the post will face Salem Post 128 at 5:30 p.m. today for the district’s final spot in the divisional round. Salem Post 128 downed Mt. Vernon Post 141 1-0 in the West Division loser’s bracket, setting up the final with Effingham today.
Newton Post 20 tops Effingham Post 120 7-5 late
Most of the games at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament have seen pitching take control, but the pitchers in Sunday night's Effingham Post 120/Newton Post 20 game faced an uphill battle.
While Brock Mammoser started the game for Post 20 on the hill and struggled, he came through with the biggest hit in the game, putting Newton up for good in a 7-5 win over Effingham.
Dieterich Post 628 eliminates Teutopolis Post 924 3-2
Errors proved to be Teutpolis Post 924's undoing against Dieterich Post 628, as Dieterich's sixth-inning rally in an 3-2 win were boosted by three Teutopolis errors
To lead off the sixth, Trenton Poe reached on an error by Brock Bueker, and came around to score on an infield single by Ryan Radloff with a throwing error on Bueker. Poe was already on third when the ball went in the Teutopolis dugout, awarding Poe home to tie the game.
Bryce McClain followed with an RBI single to score Radloff and put Post 628 up for good. Dieterich scored again on a Briar Schmidt groundout where first baseman Brant Bueker tried to get an inning-ending out at second, but the throw was wild and brought home McClain.
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