Effingham’s Parker Wolfe admits the team wasn’t happy with a 62-61, one-point loss to Mahomet-Seymour a few weeks ago, the only blemish on the Heart’s schedule. He wasn’t about to end his Hearts career with another.
“It was a pretty upsetting loss for us,” Wolfe said. “We wanted to go undefeated. That loss checked us in and made us go harder in practice. We were relaxed winning all those games.”
Wolfe walked off his home court one last time a winner in a 79-59 win over Charleston Saturday afternoon. The dynamic playmaker scored a game-high 35 points, finishing fifth all-time in scoring, with 1654 career points.
Charleston finishes 2-11 in the conference and 2-12 overall. Effingham wins the Apollo conference going 13-1 and finishing 17-1 overall.
“It meant a lot to us. Without the chance of a postseason, it was the only way of winning a championship. Without that we needed to make our focus on the Apollo and wine every game,” he said.
Wolfe stormed out of the gate with 21 first-half points as 6-foot-6 senior Nate Thompson, the other heralded scorer who celebrated breaking the 1000 point marker just a day earlier, was held to just one.
Jacob Stoneburner, the physically imposing Effingham senior forward at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, lowered his shoulder into the Charleston defense scoring 11 points picking up for Thompson.
“I don’t know if they [Charleston] were neutralizing them (Parker and Nate) as much as we weren’t playing defense,” Effingham head coach Obie Farmer said. “We’re a team where if you take away one of our guys, someone else is going to pop up. Stoney [Jacob Stoneburner] had eleven in the first half. So when Nate’s not scoring, Stoney steps up. When Parker isn’t scoring, Garrett (Wolfe) has a tendency to step up and make shots. When you take one down another steps up to the plate and takes care of business.”
“Those two are two of my best buddies,” Wolfe said. “With them being good scorers, it opened up everything else for me and not make a defense just keep their eyes on me the whole time. Those two are special players who work their butts off. It means alot to see them have success.”
Wolfe said teams weren’t afforded the opportunity to focus just on him when Thompson and Stoneburner were scoring options.
Senior Jaksen Braun’s 18 first half points led the Charleston charge, behind a triumvirate of threes, sparking the Trojans offense that kept them just a step ahead of Effingham taking a 40-38 halftime lead on the road.
“I thought for two-and-a half quarters we battled and played and took them step for step,” Charleston head coach Brad Oakley said. “The thing is after the two week layoff from quarantining and having to play four games a week for four straight weeks, it takes their legs a little bit. But I couldn’t be more proud of the kids. They battled and competed. They showed some pride and guts and took a really good team and battled against them.” yourself a chance to be successful down at the end.”
Braun would begin the third quarter scoring for the Trojans on their first possession, drawing a foul on Thompson making both free throws increasing Charleston’s lead by four.
Wolfe and company would then put the clamps down on the Trojans offense limiting them to just eight points, five by the six-foot-four junior. The Hearts would go on a 23-8 scoring spree including two dunks by Thompson.
“I think we just narrowed down more on him to make sure he wasn’t scoring,” Wolfe said. “He’s their big heavy load of scoring. We just tried to focus on not letting him get clean looks and cut down his scoring because we knew they’d struggle to score.”
Ahead by five, Thompson took a long pass from Parker Wolfe and slammed it home, extending the Hearts lead by 7. As the teams entered the final quarter, the Hearts were up 61-48.
Charleston’s Cory Spour missed his entire junior year and two calendars years away from basketball due to an wrist injury playing football said giving up leads was a season-long issue.
“That’s what we’ve struggled with all year,” Spour said. “Our halftime scores are great. We come out in the start of the game and really play with teams. But it seemed like something in the third quarter just doesn’t...we just don’t gel together well and then lose a lead.”
The fourth quarter started with a bucket by Wolfe extending the lead to 63-48.
Charleston would close the gap to eight points in the fourth quarter on a seven-point run with four points from six-foot-two sophomore and three from Braun.
Effingham responded and closed the door on any Charleston hopes when Wolfe, Stoneburner, and sophomore Garrett Wolfe contributed on a six-point run late in the fourth.
“I looked up and saw we were up by 18. I thought if we score one more time I could put Chase (Woomer) in, and some of our reserve guys in,” Effingham head coach Obie Farmer said. “But in all honesty, we took off so quick I felt like we were up by two or even. I I looked up again and saw we were up by ten, and then looked up again and saw we were up by twenty. It happened so quick that it didn’t register with me that we had a run like we did.”
That run was the product of Parker, Thompson, and Stoneburner.
“You know they’re three year starters. They’ve been starting since they were sophomores,” Farmer said of Parker and Thompson. “Ever since they were sophomores playing with Landon (Wolfe) and Cole [Marxmann] they were key contributors. Last year they had a scoring role, and stepped up their scoring. This year they were leaders of the program. Between those two and Jacob Stoneburner – not mentioning Stoney would be a crime who’s our emotional leader – while Parker and Nate make those shots, there’s nobody thats going to do the tough things like him.”
The four year letterwinner and three-year starter hopes his legacy is one of example.
“I hope it shows the younger kids and underclassmen what it takes to have a good season leaving behind a 17-1 season and Apollo Conference champs,” Wolfe said.
Farmer’s definition of success was molded by his own personal experiences.
“When I was at Martinsville what I learned was to take success beyond just getting wins because we didn’t get many,” Farmer said. “Here you have 17 wins in an 18-game season. I got to see our kids succeed. You want to talk about gratification? In about four years when they graduate college and go off to start their own life, their character and hard work and the things we tried to instill in them in the program, will carry them on for the rest of their life. That’s what it’s about.”
Charleston 25 15 8 11 59
Effingham 23 15 23 18 77
Charleston – Spour 7 0-0 14, Burgess 2 0-0 5, Applegate 2 0-0 4, Braun 9 5-5 27, Oakley 2 0-0 4, Bickford 2 0-0 5.
3-pointers: Burgess 1, Braun 4, Bickford 1.
24 5-5 59
Effingham – G. Wolfe 3 3-6 10, P. Wolfe 10 8-9 35, Thompson 4 3-7 11, Logan 3 0-0 6, Stoneburner 7 0-0 15, Woomer 1 0-0 2.
3-pointers: G. Wolfe 1, P. Wolfe 6, Stoneburner 1.
28 14-22 79