Effingham Daily News
Effingham's school record of 22 straight wins in girls basketball didn't stand for long — in fact, it stood for as short a time as it could.
After losing in last year's regional final after 22 straight wins, Effingham got right back to it and has spent all season crafting a new school record. The Lady Hearts won their 23rd straight game to start the season, as the 59-50 win over Salem eclipsed last year's massive win streak, doing so in as few games as possible.
"That's a bunch in a row in the regular season," said Effingham coach Jeff Schafer. "They're so business-like and still have fun. They enjoy what they're doing, and you can see it."
The record breaker wasn't without its bumps in the road, as a more-than-game Salem squad played Effingham even in the first quarter to an 11-11 tie and led by as many as eight in the second quarter, up 21-13.
But Effingham never lost its cool, responding with a 9-0 run to take the lead back behind Josie Zerrusen, Caitlin Kaufman and Jantzen Michael. The lead flip-flopped from there, but Effingham held on to a 26-25 lead at the half.
They'd never trail again, despite Salem's many attempts to come back down the stretch.
"I thought that was one of the best basketball games I've seen Salem play this year," Schafer said. "We're going to get everyone's best shot. We never panicked, we never let it bother us. We needed a game like that."
Zerrusen, Michael and Kaufman led the way in the third, as they scored all of Effingham's 19 points in the frame, led by Zerrusen's nine points in the quarter.
She would finish with 20, emerging as a scorer and helping in ways that didn't show up on the box score.
"She did a great job bringing the ball up against the pressure too," Schafer said.
Effingham led 45-41 going to the fourth, and Salem would never get closer than that as the game's minutes ticked away.
Kaufman added 15 points, Michael had 12 and Lauren Stephenson had six off the bench. Still, Schafer was quick to point out the rebounding done by Stephanie Robb and Maddy Field, and called the win a team effort.
"This was just an effort to the eight or nine kids that played," he said. "Maddy gave us some great minutes. They just keep working, working, working."
The Lady Hearts are now 23-0 and 7-0 in the Apollo Conference. They're back it Thursday night, hosting Mt. Zion, before taking on Teutopolis Friday night at home.
Salem 11 14 16 9 50
Effingham 11 15 19 14 59
Salem: Sh. Horst 2, Hood 14, Cook 9, Baer 2, Beer 10, Watson 13
Effingham: Michael 12, Totten 2, Stephenson 6, Kaufman 15, Robb 2, Field 2, Zerrusen 20