Teutopolis surrendered the opening basket of Tuesday night's game on a beautiful backdoor cut by Roxana's Jordan Briggs for the first two points of the game, then never looked back.
The Wooden Shoes responded by scoring the next five points, and built a 15-10 advantage after one quarter. Behind four scorers in double digits, and forcing 23 total turnovers, Teutopolis (27-3) kept its foot on the gas en route to a commanding 58-42 win in the Greenville Sectional semifinal.
"We felt that we could get after their ballhandlers a little bit," Wooden Shoes' coach Andy Fehrenbacher said. "It didn't seem like they had a lot of kids real confident handling the ball in the backcourt."
Teutopolis built its first-quarter lead off five Roxana (24-8) turnovers and a trio of 3-balls, starting with Devin Falbe's 3-pointer to give the Shoes a 5-2 lead. Jared Waldhoff got in the mix two possessions later with his launch from beyond the arc, and Falbe's second trifecta of the opening quarter gave Teutopolis a 12-6 lead as the clock ticked under one minute.
Ahead by a handful after one, the Wooden Shoes extended their lead by taking the ball inside in the second. Kyle Pruemer, giving up three inches to 6-9 Roxana center Hunter Reine, had no trouble finding the bucket in the second frame.
The bruising body down low delivered six of the Wooden Shoes' ten points in the second, the last coming off a tough offensive rebound and putback to push the Teutopolis lead to eight. A Briggs free throw for Roxana finished the scoring to give the Wooden Shoes a 25-18 lead at halftime.
"That [second quarter] comes from Kyle battling and working," Fehrenbacher said, "and our guards finding him. We've been awfully balanced."
The Teutopolis defense was masterful in the first two periods, limiting Reine to just four points in the half. A swarm of Wooden Shoes defenders attacked Reine each and every time he caught the ball in the post, making sure his looks at the basket were anything but easy.
"[Reine's] a very nice player, he's got a lot of skill," Fehrenbacher said. "Kyle is a big, strong kid, who definitely gave up a little bit of length, but he really battled hard. He had a lot of backside help from our guards, I think we did a nice job on him."
Teutopolis pushed the lead to double digits in the third when Derek Smith scored off penetration in the middle of the paint to make it a 37-27 ballgame. The teams traded 3-pointers on the ensuing possessions, the second coming when Falbe hit his third 3-ball of the night on an uncontested look from the left wing. Heading into the fourth quarter, Smith's layup off Roxana's sixth turnover of the period gave the Wooden Shoes a 44-32 advantage.
"This game tonight," Fehrenbacher said, "we really missed some shots. You can't bank on going out there and hitting shots every night, and that's where the defense comes into play."
The Wooden Shoes were in top form in the final quarter of action, generating seven more turnovers and building a 16-point lead off Smith's 3-pointer from the top of the key. Ahead 50-34 with three minutes to play, Teutopolis calmly hit its shots at the foul line down the stretch, holding off any late rally for the 58-42 win.
Smith led Teutopolis with his 14-point effort, and the multi-talented guard also added six rebounds. Falbe finished with 12 points, and Pruemer and Waldhoff completed the four Wooden Shoes in double figures with 10 points apiece.
Waldhoff may not have accumulated any mind-blowing stats, but Fehrenbacher was quick to point out how his effort made all the difference.
"He's such an athletic kid," he said. "He got to the hole a couple times, and he was in there challenging on the defensive end. He's as competitive as can be."
Reine finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds for Roxana, but the Shells were outrebounded 26-20. The Wooden Shoes advance to Friday's Greenville Sectional final, where Teutopolis will take on the winner of tonight's game between Robinson and Breese Central. Tip is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Teutopolis 58, Roxana 42
Teutopolis 15 10 19 14 - 58
Roxana 10 8 14 10 - 42
Teutopolis - Smith 14, Falbe 12, Waldhoff 10, Pruemer 10, Hardiek 5, Will 3, Mette 2, Schultz 2.
Roxana - Reine 12, Hartnett 10, Briggs 7, Sheets 6, Brown 4, McCalley 3.