Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


March 13, 2014

Czachorski: Saying bye to basketball

EFFINGHAM — I can't claim to fully understand how it felt for the Dieterich Movin' Maroons and the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes Tuesday night, seeing an amazingly successful season come to an end.

All you can do is ask someone to explain a feeling that persists much longer than a proverbial punch to the gut, and more often than not, the people affected don't have the words — see Teutopolis coach Andy Fehrenbacher for proof.

“Not many programs can say they’ve gotten this far four times in a row, but when you don’t break through, it makes it harder and harder each year,” Fehrenbacher said Tuesday. “I’m at such a loss and I’m empty inside.”

As a subpar baseball player on a subpar baseball team in high school, we never made it out of the first round of the Michigan high school playoffs, taking a team to extra innings once before ultimately losing, so I can't even relate on an athletic level.

So as we sit here at the end of basketball season and hopefully less than a week from baseball and softball, the only way I can relate is from my perch as the sports editor here.

When teams get as far as Dieterich and Teutopolis, and even the Teutopolis girls, things get complicated for me. Above all, I'm to remain unbiased and not play favorites, but it's hard not to get caught up in things.

On some level, it would have made me happy if Dieterich and/or Teutopolis had won last night. Not because I'm a fan of the school or the team — also, not that I'm not. Again, it's a unbiased thing — but I'm a fan of the story, and the better the story, the more excited I get.

And what stories they would have been and continued to grow into. I touched on the main threads in both previews for the teams. Dieterich had a shot to advance to its first ever state tournament, while Teutopolis had a chance to remove a giant roadblock that has stood at that level of the playoffs for the entirety of their seniors' careers at Teutopolis.

If St. Anthony, Altamont, Effingham, Newton, really any school we cover at the EDN, had gotten to this point, I'd feel the same. At this point of the season, every team has a story full of trials, tribulations, ups and downs, that would have been something reporters like myself would have loved to sink their teeth into.

With that in mind, I still am thinking, "What if they'd won? What kind of story could have been written, what kind would the players tell?" And those stories would have been fun to pursuit, but now they can't be.

So when players and coaches think about that what-if game, I get it — in fact, I more than get it. Their what-ifs represent their dreams not being fulfilled, and coming up short despite all the work they've put in. They still want to know what could have happened if the ball bounced different a few ways for the Shoes Tuesday, or if Dieterich could have corralled the energy it had during a 14-2 run for just a few more minutes.

My what-if just boils down to an extension of theirs, and would have just resulted in a slightly more fun week at work with a trip to Peoria at the end of it.

Now, I wait just a few days, or maybe weeks if the ground isn't ready for baseball and softball, and Alex McNamee and I get another crack at more storylines.

For players like Teutopolis' Cody Will, Reed Hardiek, Bobby Wenthe and others, and Dieterich's Tanner Traub and Josh Campbell, their basketball stories in high school are over. For players like Teutopolis' Brett Mette and Dieterich's Alex Bohnhoff, among others, it's about wanting to get back to that point and rewrite the story next year at any cost.

But looking back at the seasons of all the area teams, it's been a hell of a collective story, from Altamont's great season, St. Anthony's re-emergence, Effingham's Apollo dominance, and even individual moments on some teams that didn't make it as far like buzzer-beaters, upsets, rivalry wins, etc. That's what I'm taking from this season, and that's what I hope the Wooden Shoes and Movin' Maroons can too.

On to the next set of stories. I hope they're as fun as basketball was.


Text Only
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    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

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    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-28NewtonSundaygame1.JPG Salem deals Newton first divisional loss

    Mitch Bierman started off Newton Post 20’s game against Salem Post 128 with a bang Sunday afternoon, hitting a leadoff triple and scoring on the next batter.
    Post 20’s offense didn’t follow his lead from there, as Newton had just three more hits and no runs, and falling in a Junior Legion Fifth Division winner’s bracket game to Salem 12-1 in seven innings.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.
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    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.
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    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

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    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

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