Marcus Robinson got the fans out of their seats one last time.
He slammed an alley-oop from a pass off the backboard by Grant Wolfe, on a fast break with about four minutes to play in Effingham's 57-28 win on Wednesday.
It was the final stamp on a clinical undoing of Paris and worked the Flaming Hearts' bench into a frenzy.
No longer than a minute later, Effingham head coach Ron Reed pulled his starters from the game. Teammates met Robinson and Wolfe at half court, as they walked off the floor.
Reed only laughed about it after the game: “It was neat,” he said.
But it was the culmination of what the Hearts did against Paris. They worked the ball around a “really good” 2-3 zone, waiting for the right entry pass in the first quarter.
“(Paris has) a lot of size and strength on their back line,” Reed said. “It's a tough zone.”
They attacked it quicker, in the second quarter, knowing the biggest holes were in the short corner and high post areas of the floor.
Guards like Phil Knight, who finished with a team-high 12 points, attacked the middle of the zone and either sank a jumper or made an extra pass.
The Hearts built a 25-8 lead, giving up four points apiece in the first two quarters, at which point their full-court pressure forced Paris into more of an open-floor game.
“Our pressure was able to speed them up a little bit, get it into the open floor and get them into some quick shots,” Reed said.
Knight, Kennan Mahaffey and Matt Wohltman scored a rush of points in the more fast-paced third quarter, combining for 17 — a game-high for the quarter.
So when Wolfe stole a ball at half court, against a hurried guard, and made the most of a 2-one-1 breakaway by bouncing Robinson a pass of the backboard, he showed how the Hearts opened up the game.
Wolfe and Robinson each finished with six points. Wolfe entered the game in the second quarter to replace Braydon Bone.
Bone left the game with 3:14 to go in the second quarter after being undercut on a fast break layup. A Paris player was called for an intentional foul on the play that sent Bone out of the game permanently.
Reed said Bone suffered an unspecified wrist injury after falling awkwardly on the play.
Effingham (12-4, 5-0) returns to action on the road at 6:15 p.m. Friday in Charleston.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Effingham 10 15 17 15 57
Paris 4 4 12 16 28
Effingham: Robinson 6, Mahaffey 8, Knight 12, Wohltman 8, Lark 2, Wolfe 6, Daugherty 9, Foreman 3, Carie 3
Paris: Elmore 5, Spencer 3, Switzer 4, Brewer 2, Lueken 4, Martin 6, Malone 4
Effingham now 5-0 in Apollo
Marcus Robinson got the fans out of their seats one last time.
Teutopolis advances to 4th straight Super-Sectional
Teutopolis couldn't have started each of the first three quarters any better.
The Wooden Shoes Shoes took an 11-0 lead in the first five minutes of the first quarter and started the second and third quarters on 7-0 and 9-0 runs, respectively.
Their third-quarter outburst gave them the 17-point lead that was too much for Greenville to come back from. The Shoes won 64-53 to advance to Tuesday's Class 2A Carbondale Super-Sectional at Southern Illinois University. It's Teutopolis' fourth-straight trip to the Super-Sectional round.
Maroons make history
With just more than 12 minutes left, Dieterich's offense was scuffling and the Movin' Maroons trailed St. Anthony by 11, 34-23.
Then Alex Bohnhoff kick started the Maroons' offense with a pair of 3-pointers, and Dieterich completed a big comeback to down their NTC rivals 58-51 and win its first-ever sectional title
Zerrusen reflects on 1K milestone, career
Josie Zerrusen used to be a handful for her Effingham coaches, but turned into a headache for opponents by the end her senior season.
Zerrusen, the only one of four Hearts seniors to reach 1,000 points in her career this season, was preoccupied with scoring points as a sophomore on a 20-10 team in 2012.
But the Hearts improved as Zerrusen matured, recording 54 wins in the last two seasons, including a school-record 28 this season and a regional championship. Zerrusen grew up by changing her attitude and refusing to take summers off.
All-NTC showdown set at sectionals
At least one area team will play Monday at Southern Illinois University for Super-Sectionals. Teutopolis is looking to make it two.
Tonight will mark the end of the road for either St. Anthony (22-10) or Dieterich (22-8), as the NTC rivals clash for the Class 1A Red Hill Sectional championship. A win would be Dieterich’s first-ever sectional crown, and it would be the first for St. Anthony since 2001.
Teutopolis (20-9) is looking to advance to the Super-Sectional round for the fourth-straight season and is playing for a sectional title for the fifth-straight year. The Wooden Shoes take on Greenville for the Class 2A Vandalia Sectional title.
Olney ends Effingham's season
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.
Dieterich advances in convincing fashion
The Dieterich Movin' Maroons used a January loss to Patoka to motivate themselves Wednesday night at the Class 1A Red Hill Sectional.
It was more successful than they ever could have hoped for, as Dieterich stomped the Patoka Warriors 61-39 and advanced to Friday's sectional final against St. Anthony.
St. Anthony edges Oblong 72-69
BRIDGEPORT — A rare miss by Oblong’s Koert Mehler made the most noise.
Mehler heaved a 75-foot, full-court shot that barely rimmed out to send the game to overtime; instead, St. Anthony (22-10) survived 72-69 to advance to Friday’s Class 1A Red Hill Sectional championship.
Mette leads Wooden Shoes past Breese Central
Breese Central simply has to be getting sick of the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes.
Teutopolis moved to 4-1 in its last five games against Breese Central, and knocked out the Cougars at sectionals for the second straight year with a 63-40 win Tuesday night at the Class 2A Vandalia Sectional. If that wasn’t enough, the Lady Shoes ended Breese Central’s season in girls basketball last week as well.
Neoga's Romack heading to Lincoln Land
Neoga coach Ted Kerner praised his ace pitcher Tyler Romack's ability to read players and quickly learn their tendencies on the mound.
St. Anthony's Walsh commits to be a Cobra
Makayla Walsh made it official Friday afternoon, as the St. Anthony Bulldogs' shortstop signed to play softball at Parkland College next season.
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