Day one of the Effingham Shootout girls basketball tournament featured a steady dose of high school action, culminating in a 5:30 p.m. matchup between the host Hearts and Teutopolis Lady Shoes. Fierce rivals during the regular season, Thursday’s tournament game was instead a chance to work out the summer kinks and grow as respective units.
“I’m playing everyone equally,” Lady Shoes coach Laurie Thompson said. “That’s why we’re here. They know that.”
Despite focusing on the fundamentals, the score was still kept, and the reigning Newton Sectional champs took advantage. Teutopolis jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening minutes and never trailed in a 42-31 win over Effingham that emphasized coaching and a steady rotation from the benches.
“I was disappointed with our intensity in the first half,” Hearts coach Jeff Schafer said. “They were more aggressive and intense.”
Returning all five starters, and their entire roster, the Lady Shoes didn’t have any issues forcing turnovers. Teutopolis used its aggressive nature to step in front of a number of Effingham passes that led to easy layups on the other end.
“Defensively, I like the things that we’re doing,” Thompson said. “A couple times we had some breakdowns.”
Leading 28-14 at the half, the Lady Shoes fell victim to an 3-point barrage after the break. Effingham’s Caitlin Kaufman opened the action with back-to-back treys, and Josie Zerrusen’s 3-ball cut the lead to 30-23.
Zerrusen turned in a 3-point play the hard way the next trip down the floor, closing Teutopolis’ lead to four.
“We can’t just play when we make shots,” Schafer said.
“We got some shots to go down, all of a sudden we play with a lot more Heart, a lot more intensity.”
The Lady Shoes were limited to 14 points in the second half, but Chelsey Hardiek’s team-high nine points, including four after the break, were enough to pull away for the 11-point win.