Stay patient on offense, play the usual tough defense and advance.
It’s a recipe that’s worked time and again for the Teutopolis Lady Shoes and it was enough again Thursday night to take home a regional championship plaque.
The Lady Shoes got balanced scoring up and down the lineup and used a pair of big three-pointers by senior Cierra Thompson in the fourth quarter to pull away to a 54-43 victory over Greenville in the championship of the Class 2A Vandalia Regional.
Teutopolis (25-5) now advances to Tuesday night’s sectional semifinal game at Casey-Westfield against the winner of Friday night’s Carmi-White County Regional championship between McLeansboro and Harrisburg.
Greenville had its season come to a close at 19-7.
The regional championship is the fifth straight for Teutopolis, ranked third in the final Associated Press Class 2A poll, and seventh title under head coach Laurie Thompson. She stressed to her team that patience was the key in beating a talented Lady Comets squad.
“These girls have been playing a long time and knew that they had to be patient offensively,” Thompson said. “I thought our shot selection was very good and that was a big key. Defensively, we were down at times and they took advantage of it.”
Greenville gave the Lady Shoes all they wanted through three quarters, using the three-point shooting of senior Kassidy Alderman (18 points, four 3-pointers) and sophomore Afton Nelson to take a 38-37 lead with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
Momentum switched toward Teutopolis in the final seconds of the third when senior Madeline Hartke hit a three-point play with 5.7 seconds left in the quarter to spark the Lady Shoes on a game-changing 11-0 run that spanned the first four minutes and 15 seconds of the fourth quarter.
The three from Hartke, who had missed three straight games with tendinitis, was the spark to the run, but it was three-pointers by Cierra Thompson on consecutive possessions in the fourth that swung the game fully toward Teutopolis.
“Chelsey (Hardiek) came in and played well in the first half and when Madeline came in, she had some quick buckets for us which really helped. It was good to have and see here ready to get out there” Thompson said. “I also thought Cierra’s threes back-to-back were big. It’s nice to see all of them scoring which was key for us.”
In all, Teutopolis had four players finish with at least nine points and another two with six or more.
The threes by Thompson, who led Teutopolis with 15 points, gave the Lady Shoes their first double-digit lead of the game at 48-38 with 3:45 left in the game. They were never threatened again, outscoring the Lady Comets 14-5 in the final eight minutes.
“I felt like we played our best game in our last game and you can’t ask for more than that,” Greenville head coach Paul Thies said. “Our kids played extremely hard and defensively we played really well until a couple of breakdowns late, but the effort was there and what we needed to have to play well.”
Greenville trimmed the lead to five points on a three by Alderman with 1:19 remaining before Teutopolis sank six of 12 at the free throw line to seal the win.
The Lady Comets shot out to a 6-0 start on a three-point play by Sheena Gatson and a 25-foot three-pointer by Alderman and led for the majority of the first quarter until Jessica Schumacher’s three with two seconds left gave the Lady Shoes a 15-13 lead.
From there, Teutopolis began to build a lead behind the play of Danielle Repking who scored seven straight for them. Following a short run for the Lady Comets, bringing them within three on a three-point play by senior Maria Reinhard and a basket by Gatson, sophomore Anna Hartke scored five straight to give the Lady Shoes a 30-23 lead with a minute remaining. They closed the half with a 30-25 advantage.
For Teutopolis, the difference in the game may have came in their ability to do something in the first half they’d been unable to most of the season — shoot from mid-range.
Greenville used solid play from its rotation of post players to take away the shot in the paint from Teutopolis. The Lady Shoes were 13 of 22 in the first two quarters, but attempted just three shots inside the key.
It was that sort of balance that kept the Lady Shoes’ offense alive and allowed the second half run to lead to a regional title.
“It’s something I’ve been preaching all year that we have to come together to be successful in the postseason that’s the key and that’s what kept us where we were at in the first half too,” Thompson said.
Teutopolis 15 15 10 14 54
Greenville 13 12 13 5 43
Greenville: Alderman 18, Reinhard 11, Gatson 9, Nelson 3, Schreiber 2.
Teutopolis: Thompson 15, Repking 10, Schumacher 9, M. Hartke 9, Hardiek 7, A. Hartke 6.