Effingham Daily News
For a half, the pace couldn't have been quicker and the Neoga Lady Indians and Dieterich Lady Maroons couldn't have looked more evenly matched.
Neoga turned a halftime lead of 37-33 into a 21-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and took home a 70-58 win.
While the first half was played mostly in transition, Neoga slowed the game down in the second half and the Lady Indians executed in the half court, while Dieterich struggled.
"That was something we talked about in the first half," said Neoga coach Kim Romack. "Dieterich definitely came out ready to play, and we wanted to turn it up on a notch on the defensive end, and we did. We extended and got out in passing lanes."
The first half was a battle between Neoga's Jillian Deters and Madison Butler, against Dieterich's Mallorie Vahling and Courtney Flach, with the center/guard combos on both sides matching each other blow for blow.
Butler had 16 and Deters had 11 in the first two quarters for Neoga, while Flach had 14 and Vahling added 11 for the Maroons.
In the second half, the Indians' defense shut them down early and cruised to a big lead, while the other Maroons didn't play with the confidence coach Donetta Ohnesorge thought they needed to.
"We wanted to penetrate tonight," Ohnesorge said. "Courtney did a good job with that, but we relied upon the outside shot more than I wanted to. Some girls lack the confidence, and that's something we're going to have to adjust to."
The high-low combo of Butler and Deters worked like a charm in the second half, with Butler pouring in a total of 27 points and Deters scoring 23 on the night.
Butler's ability to break down the Maroons' zone defense was the key, as the point guard found her way into the lane or into the middle of the zone for easy jumpers all night long.
"Madi did a nice job tonight, and she was definitely on," Romack said. "Madi was able to step up and hit the outside shot .. and that opened things up for them a little more."
Neoga led 53-40 after the third quarter, holding Dieterich to four points total for nearly seven minutes. They'd push the lead as far out as 68-47 before the end of the fourth quarter.
While the Maroons looked to lock Deters down early, Butler's shooting forced them to play either-or, which didn't work out on either end.
"They spread their offense a bit more, and we had a hard time adjusting," Ohnesorge said. "We pulled out and they dished in and vice versa. They're a hard team to stop."
Flach finished the night with 24 points, while Vahling had 15, with only four points in the second half.
Jaycie Roy and Olivia Ott each had eight points for Neoga. Rachel Schmidt added 10 for the Lady Maroons.
Neoga is now 18-8 and finished 5-1 in the NTC, good for second place overall. Dieterich is 9-14 and 1-3 in conference, with games left against Brownstown/St. Elmo and CHBC today and Saturday, respectively.
The Lady Indians' season wraps up Saturday, when they host Shelbyville/Stew-Stras/Windsor in a makeup game.
Neoga 16 21 16 17 70
Dieterich 13 20 7 18 58
Neoga: Butler 27, Ott 8, Thies 4, Roy 8, Deters 23
Dieterich: Abbott 4, Flach 24, Schmidt 10, Heuerman 5, Vahling 15