Effingham Daily News
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.
Both games begin at 7 p.m. in Bridgeport and Vandalia, respectively.
St. Anthony vs. Dieterich
Dieterich coach Jeff Staser didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about the Movin’ Maroons’ previous matchup with St. Anthony, a 36-26 loss to the Bulldogs on Dec. 20.
“It was like watching grass grow,” Staser said.
But that score represents a style of play that St. Anthony is hoping to replicate tonight to take home a sectional championship.
Dieterich has pushed the ball all season long, adding efficiency to its offense as the season has progressed. St. Anthony has also become more efficient and balanced offensively, but its run this postseason has been predicated on defense.
“Defense wins championships, and the guys have to understand that on a night-to-night basis,” said St. Anthony coach Cody Rincker. You can’t always control your shots going in, but what you can control is your effort on defense.
The matchup game will be just as important, and fittingly, just as varied. Dieterich clearly has the size advantage in the post with Devin Aherin and Travis Niemerg and can score from inside well, but St. Anthony has scored and defended well with a smaller front line of Alex Hoelscher and John Goeckner.
On the perimeter side, Dieterich’s backcourt of Alex Bohnhoff, Tanner Traub and Nick Feldhake have the edge offensively on St. Anthony’s Neil Williams, Matt Gibson and Frank Jansen, but the three Bulldogs are quick and lengthy on defense in a way Dieterich’s guards are not.
“Both of us have a size advantage in the opposite direction,” Rincker said. “They’re long and lanky and changing shots, maybe not getting blocks. Alex and John have been pretty clever with their shots, and we’ll see how they use that down in the post.”
The two teams shared the NTC regular season crown with Altamont, and the Bulldogs’ win that kept Dieterich from running the table was a long time ago, with both teams growing in the interim, Staser said.
“From our perspective, we’re becoming more of a disciplined team,” Staser said. “Value each possession. Whatever the score ends up, that’s where it ends up. The defense has to dictate a lot on Friday, we’re going to want to dictate our game and they’re going to want dictate their game.”
A lot hangs in the balance for both teams, with Staser saying his team has been looking to make this kind of run from the summer, with the pride showing as the season has progressed.
Rincker said the Bulldogs are trying to stay grounded and keep their eye on the prize while understanding how far they’ve come under the first-year head coach.
“There’s 15 other teams that get to play tomorrow night; there’s only eight that get to play the final week of the season,” he said. “We can’t do it for all the teams in the past, for all the teams that hopefully do it in the future. We need to appreciate what we’ve done, what we’ve gotten to do and play our tails off.”
Teutopolis vs. Greenville
Teutopolis knocked out Greenville last season in the Wooden Shoes’ first regional game, crushing the Comets 72-40 as Teutopolis made it to the Super-Sectional round.
Greenville (19-12) has played better basketball season, scratching clawing its way past Carlinville Wednesday to advance to face the Shoes.
Teutopolis coach Andy Fehrenbacher said the Comets won’t be easy to defend, but they are familiar with the team still.
“They run a lot of different things, so we’re going to have to defend against (junior guard Will) Schaufelberger coming off of screens,” Fehrenbacher said. “We’ve got a pretty good scout on them.”
If Greenville has watched Teutopolis play in the postseason, they’ve seen the big efforts put forth by Brett Mette in the post.
While the sophomore has played exceptionally as the season has gone on, Fehrenbacher is comfortable making the Comets pick their poison with Brock Mette, Cody Will, Reed Hardiek and Bobby Wenthe.
“If they put a lot of attention on Brett, we have very capable scorers up and down the lineup,” Fehrenbacher said. “Brett’s playing with a lot of confidence, Greenville has some kids that are pretty strong. There will be other opportunities.”
The Shoes have come on down the stretch, overcoming injuries to Will and Wenthe that have forced them to restack the deck on the fly, which Fehrenbacher said has been key.
“I’ve felt that if we could get healthy and get guys with valuable minutes, we had the possibility of making a run,” he said. “I didn’t see that one team like Harrisburg this year, everyone knew they were the team to beat (last year).”
They’ll look to keep that run going tonight.