Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

February 18, 2013

Hearts dominate Salem for Apollo Conference title

EFFINGHAM — The visiting Wildcats of Salem tossed out a number of different defenses against Effingham on Friday night, from a 1-2-2 halfcourt trap to a 3-2 zone. No matter what Salem attempted, however, the Hearts had the answer, dominating the Wildcats for a 69-29 victory that gave Effingham its first outright Apollo Conference title since 2004.

"It feels great," junior Leighton Lark said. "We're in a tough conference, so it feels really good to be in the top spot."

The Hearts wasted no time taking control of this one, jumping out to an early 9-2 advantage capped off by Hunter Keith's floater in the paint. After a tough jumper from Salem's Nick Hempen, Effingham senior Tim Gardewine scored on a jump shot in the lane to start another big run late in the first.

"I thought we dictated a lot of things early tonight," Hearts' coach Ron Reed said. "We came out and shot it real well."

After Gardewine's bucket, Keith dished out a pair of well-timed assists to Lark and Josh Stombaugh to build a 17-4 advantage. Lark connected from deep on the next Hearts' possession before a late Salem free throw made it a 20-5 ballgame through one quarter.

"I had a lot of open looks," Lark said, "and there were a lot of good screens set for me by my teammates."

Lark continued to dominate in the second, scoring five straight points midway through the frame. The 6-6 forward coasted for an easy lay-up off a Salem turnover, and hit another 3-pointer moments later to stretch the Hearts' lead to 29-9.

"He shot it real well," Reed said. "He's sort of been a guy we depend on for defensive stuff, so it was good to see him get his shot going."

The Hearts closed the second quarter much like the first, ending the period on a 6-0 run to take a 35-11 lead into the locker room. Trenton Frey scored off a nice assist from Keith, who found his own range on the next trip down the floor, dialing up a 3-pointer with one minute to play. A late Jake Stombaugh free throw gave Effingham its 24-point lead at the half.

Effingham was just as impressive on defense in the first two quarters, limiting Salem to just three made field goals. On top of holding the Wildcats to 11 points, the Hearts repeatedly cut in front of a Salem pass to generate easy looks at the other end. At halftime, Effingham had already forced 10 turnovers.

"We were able to create some turnovers and turn that into offense," Reed said. "We were able to create some separation in the second quarter."

The Hearts have looked like a new team as of late, able to pull away from weaker opponents throughout the game. Whereas some weaker squads hung around against Effingham earlier in the season, Reed was enthusiastic that his squad continued to focus on Friday night.

"That's the nice thing about this group," he said, "especially in the past two weeks. They have been doing a lot better job of finishing teams off."

After the second half opened with a Salem bucket, Effingham extinguished any lingering hopes of a comeback by pouring on 17 unanswered points to build a 52-13 lead with three minutes to play in the third quarter. Josh Stombaugh closed the huge run with his jumper from the low block.

His bucket one possession later after a 3-pointer from Salem's Nick Conklin finished the third-quarter scoring for Effingham. With eight minutes to play, home team led comfortably, 54-20.

Ahead by more than 30, Effingham rested its starters in the fourth, opting to give plenty of minutes to the younger players on the roster. Even then the Hearts didn't disappoint, outscoring Salem 15-9 in the final frame to claim a 40-point victory. The game, never really in doubt, gave Effingham its first outright Apollo conference title since 2004, pushing its record in league play to 9-1.

"I told these guys, 'don't take this achievement lightly,'" Reed said. "It's truly a great accomplishment."

Jake Stombaugh led the Hearts with 18 points on the night, and Lark had a steady performance with 16 points and six rebounds. Josh Stombaugh chipped in with nine points for Effingham, who improve to 19-6 with the win.

Now with a conference title under their belts, the Hearts will look to gain some momentum before tournament play when Effingham welcomes Mount Vernon on Tuesday. The regular season finale is next Friday against Mahomet-Seymour.

"We have two very good clubs coming into our place next week," Reed said. "It should really prepare us for the postseason, and we're also one win away from that 20-game mark. That would be a worthy accomplishment as well."



Salem-  5 6 9 9 - 29

Effingham- 20 15 19 15 - 69

Salem- Rush 8, Conklin 7, Alberson 3, Hempen 3, Foreman 2, Helm 2, McCay 2, Mercer 2, .

Effingham- Ja. Stombaugh 18, Lark 16, Jo. Stombaugh 9, Keith 5, Foreman 4, Gardewine 4, Knight 3, Daugherty 2, Frey 2. Mahaffey 2, Niebrugge 2, Robinson 2.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0725.JPG 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. 

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • daughertyfootball.jpg 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.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mammoser3.jpg 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.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bateman.jpg 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.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bierman.jpg 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.”

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Barnes3.jpg 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.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mammoser2.jpg 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.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Campton.jpg 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.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teutopolis, Deters down Altamont Post 512 2-0

    TEUTOPOLIS — Lucas Deters didn't get a ton of run support from his Teutopolis Post 924 teammates, but he didn't need much in a complete-game shutout, and Teutopolis ended Altamont Post 512's season with a 2-0 win Sunday afternoon.
    Deters' efforts at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament kept Teutopolis alive in the loser's bracket to face Dieterich Post 628 immediately following the win.

    July 21, 2014

  • Poe.jpg Two-out rally pushes Dieterich to win; Post 628 beats Vandalia Post 95 4-3

    Down one with two outs and Vandalia Post 95 ace Zach Schaal coming in in relief, Dieterich Post 628 had a tough task to keep its season alive.
    But down 3-2, Cole Hartke and Charlie Thoele laced back-to-back singles to score Briar Schmidt and Flach, respectively, to take a 4-3 lead.
    Clayton Campton held the lead in the seventh, striking out two and getting Post 95 in order to keep Dieterich's season alive.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.