The thermostat was set to 50 degrees on Friday night in the Teutopolis High School gym for the Wooden Shoes’ homecoming game against the Breese Central Cougars.
But, the gym never even got close to that temperature, as the bleachers were packed with fans watching their Shoes take on the defending state champions.
Unfortunately for those there to see Teutopolis, the Cougars stayed cool despite the heat, calmly knocking down 13 of their 17 free throws in the final quarter to hold off the Shoes and claim a 49-42 victory.
Both teams played solid defense, but the Cougars were ultimately able to knock down more shots.
Teutopolis coach Andy Fehrenbacher credited the Breese Central defense for making his players take tough shots, but added that the Shoes didn’t have the best offensive game on Friday.
“I would say it’s a combination of both,” he said. “They’re a great team. I think they’re athleticism hurt us; they got out and guarded us pretty well. That being said, we got a lot of good looks and just couldn’t get anything to fall.”
After senior center Kyle Pruemer got off to a hot start, scoring seven points in the first quarter, the Cougars made sure he was surrounded by two or three defenders the rest of the game.
“We started out the game getting the ball to him and he was making some baskets and doing some good things,” Fehrenbacher said. “But then they started sagging off some other guys and made it really hard on Kyle.”
Though Fehrenbacher didn’t want to make excuses for his team’s sluggish offensive performance, he noted that several key players missed practice time this week due to illnesses. He said that’s something he hopes is over so his team can move forward.
“I just felt all week long that we never really got into any kind of flow in practice,” he said. “I think that caught up to us tonight.”
Fehrenbacher added that he was happy with the way his team fought through adversity and kept the game close.
“I’m proud of our guys’ effort,” he said. “We had guys who logged a lot of minutes and they gave everything they had. They just couldn’t catch some breaks and couldn’t get enough shots to fall.”
Derek Smith led the Shoes in scoring, with 15 points. Jared Waldhoff added 11 points and Pruemer had 10.
Jacob Timmerman led the way for the Cougars, notching 15 points on the night. Tyler Sheer chipped in with 11 for Breese Central.
Friday night was the first time the Shoes had lost a homecoming game since about 10 years ago, when Fehrenbacher was an assistant coach.
“It’s not the end of the world,” he said. “You want to win your homecoming game, but you can’t hang your head and feel sorry for yourself just because you lost a game like this. We’ll battle back and we’ll get better; it’ll help us in the long run.”
Teutopolis will be back in action at Salem on Tuesday.
Breese 49, Teutopolis 42
Breese 13 9 10 15 — 49
Teutopolis 11 8 7 16 — 42
Breese Central — Timmerman 15, Sheer 11, Rickhoff 6, Becker 5, Perez 4, Jackson 4, Meyer 4
Teutopolis — Smith 15 pts., Waldhoff 11, Pruemer 10, Hardiek 6