Effingham Daily News
The Hearts kept rolling Friday night, taking down county rival Teutopolis 52-42 in a game they never trailed.
Effingham (22-3) was playing on 24 hours rest, winning its 17th game in a row Thursday against Mt. Zion, but it didn't show as they never trailed the Lady Shoes as they pushed that streak to 18.
It was a physical game throughout, which didn't surprise either coach. Still, Effingham coach Jeff Schafer was proud of his team's effort in a tense rivalry matchup.
"It's always going to be a defensive battle," he said. "Usually 45 points is a great deal against T-Town."
The defenses came out ready and raring to begin the game. Effingham cracked the scoreboard first, scoring the first six points and holding Teutopolis scoreless for more than six minutes, prompting an ovation from the Hearts' fans.
Still, Madeline Hartke drained two shots as the quarter ran out, cutting the lead to 6-4 after one quarter.
Things went back and forth until the end of the second quarter. Effingham led 13-10 with less than a minute left, then extended the lead with a three-point play by Caitlin Kaufman.
The defense held, and next time down the court, Felicia Totten hit a big three to push the lead to 19-10 at the half.
It set the tone for the rest of the game, where Teutopolis would push the Hearts, only to give up a momentum-changing bucket on the other end.
The Shoes struggled with a sense of urgency, said Teutopolis coach Laurie Thompson.
"We were uncertain all night long," she said. "The last four minutes, you're down, that's how we have to play the game."
The Shoes kept pushing as Effingham attempted to pull away, but the Hearts' effort was aided by big treys by Kaufman and Josie Zerrusen, taking a 36-22 lead into the third.
Teutopolis started to play with said urgency, and despite trailing by 14 entering the quarter, they whittled the lead to 38-32 with 5:06 remaining after two free throws by Hartke.
But on the next two trips, Zerrusen hit a jumper and Kaufman drained a three, effectively putting the game out of reach for good.
"You leave a kid open because you want to go trap somewhere, you leave a kid open and they're going to make shots," Thompson said.
Those big threes made the difference, Schafer said.
"Just three huge shots in three huge time periods," Schafer said. "That's nine points, that's the difference in the ball game. "
Kaufman had 17 points to lead Effingham, Zerrusen added 12 points and Kelli Utz had eight points, all on free throws as Effingham held the lead.
Focus was the key to continue the win streak, which Schafer said his team wasn't worried about.
"We wanted to keep our little focus," he said. "The big picture takes care of itself."
Hartke had 16 to top the Shoes and Cierra Thompson had 12 points.
Teutopolis (18-7) has played a number of tough teams as of late, but Thompson said the lessons they've learned need to begin to stick.
"The youth factor isn't an excuse anymore," she said. "We've had the lessons. We're not learning from them. "
The Shoes host Breese Mater Dei Monday night.
Effingham plays one of its two final Apollo Conference games Monday, hosting Paris.
Effingham 52, Teutopolis 42
Effingham 6 13 17 15 - 52
Teutopolis 4 6 12 20 - 42
Effingham - Utz 8, Beals 1, Totten 3, Stephenson 4, Kaufman 17, Robb 7, Zerrusen 12
Teutopolis - Giles 4, Hardiek 4, M. Hartke 16, Repking 2, Thompson 12, Schumacher 4