Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

March 2, 2014

Teutopolis takes third

Lady Shoes down Elmhurst IC 32-28

NORMAL — Teutopolis was 1-2 this season when scoring 32 points or fewer heading into Saturday’s Class 2A third-place game.

But the Shoes were in a race to 30, staring at a 22-22 tie with four minutes left against Elmhurst Immaculate Conception Catholic, and were the first to get there.

Cierra Thompson sparked a 7-0 run by making her only 3-pointer of the game with 3:45 remaining and, later, making two free throws to clinch the third-place trophy, 32-28.

“I didn’t have a lot of open looks and when I did, their defense was there,” Thompson said. “I got blocked a couple times.”

Danielle Repking came up with a steal and layup on the next possession, and then Anna Hartke made a layup to take the biggest lead of the game for either team, 29-22.

The sequence was so fitting for the defensive-minded Shoes, who limited opponents to 31 points per game this season.

“Our defense, full-court, didn’t look as good tonight, but that finally looked like what we always do,” Teutopolis head coach Laurie Thompson said. “That was a turning point and I felt extremely confident at that point.”

Cierra Thompson took the ball to the free throw line with five seconds left, leading by two, and coach Thompson said she knew her daughter would make them.

“I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous just because there were five seconds left,” Cierra Thompson said.

The senior made both shots and Teutopolis survived their third-lowest scoring output of the season. They scored 32 and 24 points in losses to Breese Mater Dei and Edwardsville, respectively, this season and beat Effingham, 29-25.

But offensive struggles were fresh on the players’ minds after shooting 34 percent in a 20-point loss to Champaign St. Thomas More in Friday’s semifinal.

They shot 31 percent from the field in the first half on Saturday, but only trailed by four points at halftime. Thompson considered her team lucky.

“I told them we are so fortunate to be four points behind, playing about as poorly as we’ve played in a long time,” coach Thompson said.

Both offenses continued to struggle, but Madeline Hartke led the Shoes on a 6-0 run to end the third quarter and capture the team’s first lead of the game.

IC Catholic matched it with a 4-0 run of the their own to start the fourth quarter. The Knights grabbed four offensive rebounds on a single possession, in a 22-22 tie, highlighting a lingering problem for the Shoes.

The Knights grabbed 17 offensive rebounds as a part of their 31-rebound effort.

“They were killing us,” coach Thompson said. “That’s one thing we didn’t take care of early and it about cost us the ball game.”

Hartke and the Shoes rose to the challenge, shooting 47 percent from the field in the second half and limiting the Knights to about 30 percent shooting for the game.

Hartke grabbed six of her nine rebounds and scored all of her seven points in the second half. She made 1-of-2 free throws, with 45 seconds left, to maintain a 30-26 lead.

"That’s when it comes down to every possession,” Hartke said. “You know you have to finish the easy shots you’re getting and convert on steals or easy turnovers. You have to focus and buckle down.”

Cierra Thompson scored seven of her team-high nine points in the second half, including her only 3-pointer. She also converted on her only two free throw attempts of the game, with five seconds left.

Chelsey Hardiek scored six points to finish off a 17-point weekend, while Haley Giles contributed five blocks to the winning effort.

The third-place finish matches the last time the program advanced to the state final four, in 2008. This season’s conclusion was an especially emotional one for coach Thompson and the Shoes’ four seniors.

“I can’t say enough (about the seniors). There’s two of them now,” said coach Thompson, who got emotional as she noticed seniors Haley Giles and Jessica Schumacher walking out of the winners’ locker room. “I don’t get emotional very often. It’s so fulfilling. I can’t think of words.”

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.

Elmhurst IC     6 10 2 10     28

Teutopolis     2 10 8 12     32

IC Catholic: Radoha 14, Gaudio 2, Maloney 8, Vitek 2, Reardon 2

Teutopolis: M. Hartke 7, Giles 2, Schumacher 2, Repking 2, Thompson 9, Hardiek 6, A. Hartke 4

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