Dawson Smith

Teutopolis' Dawson Smith soars for the dunk in the sectional championship win over Fairfield at Vandalia High School. 

The Teutopolis Wooden Shoes overcame a 10-point first quarter deficit to defeat the Fairfield Mules 55-47 at the IHSA Class 2A Vandalia Sectional championship.

Fairfield’s defense caused all sorts of problems for the Wooden Shoes in the first quarter, thus not allowing them to find their step and get into a groove. That was evident by the nine turnovers in the quarter, thanks mostly to a 2-2-1 zone press that gave the Wooden Shoes fits.

“That was the worst basketball we’ve played,” said Teutopolis head coach Chet Reeder. “I don’t know if we were too amped up. Their pressure just bothered us. Once we finally settled down and started getting the ball inside where it needed to go, that’s when we started making our run. I was worried after the first quarter.”

The Wooden Shoes were able to cut the deficit to six after starting the second quarter on a 6-2 run, with Clint Weber scoring four of those, but a pair of putbacks from the Mules increased the deficit back to 10 at 22-12. But the Shoes went into the half following a 8-0 run to end the quarter, with Dawson Smith scoring on an old-fashioned three point play, followed by a 3-pointer from Evan Wermert to make it a four point game. After the Mules were called for an illegal screen on the ensuing possession, the Wooden Shoes capitalized with a putback from Wermert to go into halftime down 22-20.

Weber got the third quarter started with a layup for his 1,000th career point, followed by a free throw and layup to give Teutopolis its first lead of the game at 25-24, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game. Weber finished with a team-high 20 points, as the Mules had no answer for him in the post.

“They don’t have an answer for him,” Reeder said. “That’s why I was so upset in the first quarter, because that’s all we had to do. Just make our cuts and throw it into him. They don’t have the bodies to stay in front of him. We had to win the paint.”

“I wasn’t really sure what was going to come at us at first,” Weber said. “Shots were falling, so I just kept shooting for awhile and they just kept going in.”

Up one, Luke Ungrund came up with a huge steal on the Mules’ inbound pass and drilled a 3-pointer to extend the lead to four.

After Lucas Drees made a layup to put the team up six, Smith came up with a pair of huge plays. The first coming on a layup that he was fouled on, while knocking down the free throw, followed by a steal that he took for a breakaway slam to go up 11.

“We knew we were in control then,” Reeder said. “When things like that happen, and our defense starts creating offense, we know we’re going in the right direction.”

However, Fairfield’s Jayzale O’Neal knocked down a pair of free throws and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the Shoes’ lead to six going into the fourth quarter.

A layup early in the fourth cut the Shoes’ lead to four, but Mitch Hardiek responded with a tough drive to the rim, getting the layup to go while being fouled. He knocked down the free throw to put the Wooden Shoes back on top 46-39.

That proved to be as close as the Mules would get, as the Wooden Shoes were able to earn a 55-47 win.

“This is awesome,” Smith said. “To make it to supers, that’s just awesome.”

Up next, the Wooden Shoes will head to Carbondale for the Super-Sectional at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.