Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

February 14, 2013

T-Town looks to take down Tyra, Mount Carmel again

Ryan Czachorski
Effingham Daily News

TEUTOPOLIS — Mount Carmel's Tyra Buss has been climbing the ranks of Illinois High School basketball history for three years.

The junior has 3,411 points in less than three full seasons, and is on pace to shatter the state record for most points in a career, set by Olney's Brittany Johnson (4,031). Buss is currently second on that list.

She's stepped up her game this year, averaging about 39 points per game, which would rank third all-time in state history for a single season.

For all the history Buss has made, Teutopolis has history on its side in Thursday's game against the Lady Aces (32-0) for the Newton sectional championship.

Teutopolis has eliminated Mount Carmel in the sectional tournament in back-to-back seasons, and looks to do it again.

The Shoes held Buss to 32 points as a freshman and just 18 points last year. Specifically, they played the kind of defense last season they've been known for this year, allowing just 32 points to Mount Carmel as a whole.

The matchup sets up some of the age-old narratives of sports; the unstoppable force versus the immovable object, and whether great defense beats great offense or vice versa.

While Buss has been shattering records, the Teutopolis Lady Shoes (24-7) have been breaking opponents with their defensive intensity.

Teutopolis rebounded from a last-second scare against Vandalia in the regional semis with a suffocating defensive effort against Greenville in the regional final. The Shoes downed Greenville 33-12, allowing just four field goals.

Their prowess showed again Tuesday, as they held a good Marshall offense down for long stretches of the game. The Lady Lions scored just two points in the span of 11:30, and were held to just 33 points.

The Shoes will face their greatest defensive test Thursday, however.

Nothing has seemed to slow down the Lady Aces junior - not even dislocating her shoulder.

Buss dislocated the shoulder during the first half of Monday's sectional semifinals against Sullivan. According to reports, she popped the shoulder back into place on her own.

The results? She scored 30 of her 48 points on the night following the injury and subsequent repair.

Her legend keeps growing. Buss has nearly 2,500 followers on her personal Twitter account (@TBuss3) and has a Twitter account solely dedicated to tweeting about her, @TyraBussNews, with nearly 900 followers of its own.

Still, the Shoes aren't backing down.

The current Shoes have some experience defending Buss. Emma Zerrusen picked up the assignment last year, but current junior Cierra Thompson did guard her when Zerrusen got into foul trouble.

Madeline Hartke has also seen extensive playing time both seasons and will play inside to avoid letting Buss inside.

Teutopolis coach Laurie Thompson said they'll be ready to face their familiar foe, but it won't be all about Buss. She has history on her side too, as Buss's 32 points in 2011 marked the only Lady Ace to reach double digits as the Shoes won 63-49.

Last year, they had a body on her at all times and used mostly man-to-man defense, but Thompson said their game plan will have multiple options to shut down Buss.

With the game in hand Tuesday night against Marshall, the T-Town student section erupted into a chant of "We want Tyra!" until the game's final whistle.

They'll get their wish at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Newton.

For the Shoes, the magic number won't be three for the third straight year, or 39, the amount of points per game Buss scores.

They need it to be one, giving Mount Carmel its first loss to have their season to continue.