Elated would be one way to describe how Effingham eighth-grade girls basketball head coach Lacy Althoff felt after the clock struck zeros and her team ran off the court as regional champions.

The Mustangs defeated Mt. Zion 22-18 to capture the Class 8-4A regional title, winning a game that Althoff knew her team deserved after not having a chance to play for anything one season ago.

“I’m super excited because this group didn’t get a chance to play last year in the postseason. They worked hard and I feel like they’ve adopted all of the changes I brought to the offense this year,” Althoff said. “They’ve come a long way since their first game.”

However, even though Effingham won, it wasn’t until the second half when the team started to click.

The Mustangs were down 4-0 at the end of the first quarter and 11-6 at halftime before outscoring Mt. Zion 7-0 in the third quarter and 16-7, altogether, in the second half.

Alyssa Martin paced Effingham with a game-best nine points, while Averie Wolfe had eight points, and Ina Mapes had five. They were the only three players to score for the Mustangs.

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Effingham returns to the court Wednesday night when they face Mahomet-Seymour at Mahomet.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 217-347-7151 ext. 124 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.

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