Altamont 47, Neoga 40

Neoga’s Mary Hill (25) leads a fast break against Altamont’s Mary Guse (34) during a National Trail Conference Tournament game Thursday at Beecher City High School.

BEECHER CITY — The Altamont Indians used a hot shooting night from JoAnna Schultz to defeat the Neoga Indians Thursday, 47-40 to advance to the National Trail Conference Girls Basketball Tournament Championship.

“I thought we were able to outlast them and hold on to the ball,” said Altamont head coach Katie Lurkins. “Neoga played a great game and did a good job at doing things that made us uncomfortable. They also hit a lot of clutch shots.”

While Altamont came into this game undefeated in NTC play, it was Neoga who got on the board first, with Blair Banning opening the game with a layup, followed by a made jumper from Olivia Titus. 

But Altamont woke up, quickly scoring three baskets in a row with a putback from Shelbi Stone to get on the board, followed by back-to-back layups from Leah Mayhaus and Shelbi Stone to take a 6-4 lead. 

Neoga came right back, getting a jumper to go from Banning, followed by Mary Hill taking the ball coast-to-coast to take an 8-6 lead. 

Altamont then got hot, going on a 9-1 run with a layup from Stone, a layup and foul shot conversion from Mayhaus, and back-to-back made jumpers from Schultz gave the Lady Indians a 15-9 lead. 

“JoAnna really came out of her shell tonight,” Lurkins said. “She was the player tonight that we see every day in practice. I was really proud of her for taking that mental confidence step up. We’re going to look for her to continue that.”

The teams perfectly kept pace with one another in the second quarter, with Neoga and Altamont both scoring 10 points. Altamont was able to build the lead to 12 at one point after starting with consecutive baskets from Mayhaus, but a jumper from Lydia Gentry and two 3-pointers from Kelsey Partlow and Olivia Titus, respectively, helped Neoga cut into the deficit. A layup from Banning off a steal from Titus cut the Altamont lead down to six going into halftime. 

Altamont got the second half started with a putback from Mayhaus and a jumper from Schultz, but a spin-move layup from Banning and a 3-pointer from Partlow cut the deficit to three. But Altamont responded well, scoring on back-to-back trips down the floor, including a jumper from Allyson Hardiekand a putback from Stone to take a 34-26 lead into the fourth quarter. 

Altamont’s Brooke Runge started the final quarter with a 3-pointer, but was quickly countered by a 3-pointer from Titus. The team then exchanged offensive putbacks, with Runge making one, followed by Banning finishing one as well. 

Neoga cut the Altamont lead down to four after a pair of made free throws and a tough layup from the block to make the score 44-40 with less than two minutes to go, but they wouldn’t get any closer, as Altamont went 5-for-7 at the free throw line in the last minute of the game to hold on to their lead and win 47-40. 

“We knew that we needed to come out and have every possession to be a battle,” said Neoga head coach Kim Romack. “We broke it down possession by possession and our kids stepped up defensively. I think we put a lot of things together tonight.

“We were getting good defensive stops and rebounding well, and against a team that big and of that size, that was huge for us. What hurt us was that we were getting the stops on the defensive end, but couldn’t get a bucket to go on the offensive end all the time.”

Up next, Altamont will face St. Anthony in the National Trail Conference Championship Saturday at 7 p.m., while Neoga will play Brownstown/St. Elmo Saturday at 5:30 p.m. This will be the third consecutive year Altamont will play St. Anthony in the NTC Championship. St. Anthony has won the past two seasons.

ALTAMONT 47, NEOGA 40

Neoga     9     10     7     14     —     40

Altamont     15     10     9     13     —     47

NEOGA: Partlow 2 0-0 6, Estay 0 0-2 0, Atwell 1 0-0 3, O. Titus 3 0-0 8, Banning 7 3-6 17, M Hill 2 0-0 4, Gentry 1 0-0 2 Totals: 16 3-8 40

ALTAMONT: Stone 1 1-2 3, Schultz 4 2-2 10, T. Mette 0 0-5 0, Goeckner 1 0-0 2, Runge 2 1-2 6, Hardiek 1 1-2 3, Guse 2 3-6 7, Jackman 1 0-0 2, Mayhaus 5 4-6 14 Totals: 17 12-25 47

3-point FG: Neoga 5 (Partlow 2, O. Titus 2, Atwell); Altamont 1 (Runge).

St. Anthony 61, Brownstown/St. Elmo 57

The St. Anthony Bulldogs used double-digit scoring outputs from four starters to help defeat Brownstown/St. Elmo and advance to the championship game.

Meg Richards scored a game-best 14 points, while Clare McHugh scored 11 and Sydney Gibson and Shea Kinkelaar each added 10.

For the Bombers, Claire Wilhour and Olivia Campbell tied for the team lead with nine points Dena Shelton added seven points and Dana Shelton added six. 

ST. ANTHONY 61, BROWNSTOWN/ST. ELMO 37

BSE     9     5     13     10     —     57

St. Anthony     13     22     12     14     —     61

BROWNSTOWN/ST. ELMO: C. Wilhour 3 2-4 9, De. Shelton 2 3-4 7, Campbell 4 0-0 9, Da. Shelton 3 0-0 6, Oberlink 1 0-0 2, Viramontes 1 0-0 2, Scholes 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 5-8 37.

ST. ANTHONY: Richards 7 0-0 14, McHugh 4 3-3 11, Kinkelaar 5 0-0 10, Gibson 4 0-0 10, Clausius 2 3-4 7, Saba 2 0-0 4, McGuire 1 0-0 3, Jones 2 0-0 2. Totals 26 6-7 61.

3-point FG: Brownstown/St. Elmo 2 (C. Wilhour, Campbell); St. Anthony 3 (Gibson 2, McGuire).

North Clay/Clay City 62, Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg 50

The North Clay Cardinals used a big night from freshman Madison Lovett to help defeat the Hatchets of Windsor/Stew-Stras, 62-50. Lovett scored a team-best 27 points, while Darcy Fender poured in 12 points and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Cassidy Coble added seven points while Audry Fleener added six. 

For the Hatchets, Megan Schlechte scored a game-high 31 points, including a 12 point second quarter. Katrina Davis scored six, while Hannah Hayes added five and Madison Everett added four. 

NORTH CLAY/CLAY CITY 62, WINDSOR/STEWARDSON-STRASBURG 50

North Clay/Clay City     16     12     15     17     —     62

Windsor/Stew-Stras     9     21     9     11     —     50

NORTH CLAY/CLAY CITY: Lovett 8 8-14 27, Fender 4 4-4 12, Coble 2 2-2 7, Fleener 2 0-0 6, Jones 2 0-0 4, Craig 1 0-0 2, Lewis 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 14-20 62. 

WINDSOR/STEWARDSON-STRASBURG: Schlechte 11 9-11 31, Davis 2 1-2 6, Hayes 2 0-0 5, Everett 1 2-2 4, Nichols 1 0-0 2, Trussell 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 12-15 50. 

3-point FG: North Clay/Clay City 6 (Lovett 3, Fleener 2, Coble); Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg 2 (Davis, Hayes).

Contact Zachary Rainey at zachary.rainey@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext. 123.

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