Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 29, 2013

Hearts defeat Tigers for 19th straight win

Ryan Czachorski
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Effingham downed Paris 59-38 Monday night continued both of its impressive winning streaks.

The Lady Hearts won their 19th consecutive game in the victory while moving to 23-3, and also inched closer to a perfect record for the season in the Apollo Conference.

Thursday's game with Salem is all that stands between the Hearts and a 10-0 conference record.

"We know that Salem's waiting again," said Effingham coach Jeff Schafer. "They're (so) athletic."

They started quickly, taking a 10-2 lead. The Hearts attacked the Tiger defense inside, as Stephanie Robb scored five points against the Paris zone in the first quarter.

The offense kept switching from Heart to Heart. After Robb's early success, the offensive burden went from Josie Zerrusen to Kelli Utz.

Effingham initially struggled containing Salem's Megan Temples, but the Hearts' press eventually started to catch up with Paris.

The press, along with the Hearts' balance on offense, pushed Effingham out to a 40-20 lead after the first half.

"We pick our spots with it. It seems to make us play harder," Schafer said. "That's the depth of our team. If they're going to try and shut one person down, then we've got someone else to step up."

The pace of play slowed dramatically in the second half, as both offenses struggled and the physical nature of the play increased.

Paris began to close the gap in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 45-32 in the quarter's final seconds.

But Utz hit a jumper to beat the buzzer and gave Effingham a 47-32 lead going into the fourth.

The Tigers cut it to 13 one more time, but Zerrusen scored seven points in the fourth quarter and Effingham was never seriously challenged.

"I thought we had a really good first half," Schafer said. It was a really hard second half for kids to play. We never got into any kind of flow offensively.

Zerrusen led the way with 21 points. Robb had 10 points as they went away from the inside play as the game went on, and Utz had 13 points.

The senior point guard was pressured by multiple defenders throughout the night, but still directed the offense and hit all three of her three-point attempts on the night.

"I would just like for her to shoot more," Schafer said. "She's shooting above 50 percent (from three), but that's just her, she's just so unselfish."

Temples finished with 19 points to lead Paris on the night.

Effingham's conference finale begins at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Salem.

Effingham 59, Paris 38

Paris    13    7    12    6    -    38

Effingham    17    23    7    12    -    59

Paris - Rios 7, Temples 19, N. Tyler 2, Hoffman 3, B. Tyler 5, Hopper 2

Effingham - Utz 13, Weiser 2, Totten 2, Stephenson 5, Kaufman 5, Robb 10, Field 1, Zerrusen 21

For updates throughout games, follow us on twitter @EDNSports