Effingham Daily News
Even after Teutopolis' 57-34 blowout of Mount Carmel to advance to the super-sectionals, the buzz still isn't on the Lady Shoes.
It's on their opponents, the Nashville Lady Hornets, who enter Monday's matchup with T-Town with a 30-2 record.
The role is something the Lady Shoes (25-7) are beginning to get used to as they try and advance to the state finals for the first time since 2008, said Shoes coach Laurie Thompson.
"They are considered the underdogs, they are not expected to win, everyone is talking Nashville," she said. "We weren't expected to win (the Mount Carmel) game, and I was all right with that."
The teams are somewhat familiar with one another. Nashville downed the Lady Shoes 38-23 in 2011 to advance to the state tournament.
They also both took part in this year's Highland Tournament, but did not face off as they were on opposites sides of the bracket.
Still, the game will likely be similar. Both teams are known for their man-to-man defenses. Nashville's defense sags off a bit, looks like a zone and packs in the inside while still using man-to-man principles, Thompson said.
Teutopolis has been at its best this postseason when the defense carries the day.
Thompson recognizes how important it is for that trend to continue, especially against a defensive team like Nashville.
"We are going to have to create our offense out of our defense," she said.
The Shoes held Greenville to just 12 points in their regional final win, and they weren't done from there.
In the win over Mount Carmel, they held scoring sensation Tyra Buss to just 20 points. Danielle Repking, who guarded Buss, had 22 of her own.
Buss' two lowest-scoring games of her career have come against T-Town.
While the Hornets don't have anyone like Buss, the defense will be key as every possession will be magnified.
Thompson is taking her cues from the loss in 2011.
"We lost that game," she said. "We didn't hit outside shots, and that's something we're going to have to do this year."
For all the talks of underdogs, defense, outside shots and favorites, Thompson said the keys for her squad will be markedly simple.
"Basically, we're going to play our defense," she said. "They have to believe in themselves."