TEUTOPOLIS – All over the court, Teutopolis coach Laurie Thompson could see the pores.
The Shoes’ leaky defense was giving Effingham good looks all over the floor – Miranda Fox was beating girls off the dribble, and Skyler Schafer and Aly Armstrong hit three 3s.
But the Shoes hung around and tightened up for a second half that helped them pull away for a 61-42 win. It helped siphon off a three-game losing streak for Teutopolis in their pink game.
So while it was nice to win, the night meant a little more to someone like Shoes junior Jolene Bueker who was able to also play for loved ones. After the game, she posed with her mom, Carol, who beat breast cancer.
“Especially since we won and played good tonight, and especially coming out of our losing streak,” Bueker said. “It was good.”
And while Teutopolis (22-5) was carrying a three-game losing streak heading into the game, it was coming against two 4A teams and a 3A team. But Thompson certainly didn’t want a fourth in the streak and she made sure to emphasis just how important it was to clean up the defensive play early on Friday.
“The first half, I related it to a strainer,” Thompson said. “They were finding every hole in our defense and Effingham was taking advantage of it. They just missed some shots. They were getting good looks, but they were missing shots.”
The Hearts were right in the game through three quarters, trailing 40-35. That’s when Teutopolis couldn’t stop making 3-pointers.
Effingham coach Bart Wiedman said a jumper by Bueker at the end of the third quarter started the tipping of the scales.
“We kind of gave them that last basket at the end of the quarter, then we had four possessions where we didn’t score,” Wiedman said. “And they had four possessions where I think they hit three 3s. That was the game right there.”
Shelby Thompson was responsible for two of those 3s, and finished with six for the game for a game-high 20 points. While she couldn’t find her shot inside the arc, she made 6 of 10 beyond it.
That started a big fourth quarter that T-Town won 21-7 and gave Laurie Thompson a palette cleanser after the first half.
“The fourth quarter was a good quarter. I mean, we did everything right.”
So is that sustainable?
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“Some nights we can look like that fourth quarter, some nights, I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Effingham was missing Carsyn Fearday for the fourth straight game.
The Hearts’ Miranda Fox helped replace the missing scoring, using her speed to constantly beat T-Town defenders off the dribble. Fox finished with 16 points, and she ended up at the top of the list on Thompson’s defensive assignment list.
It’s been a transition for the last several years as T-Town has shifted to more of an outside shooting team.
This year, the Shoes really don’t have that prototypical center that can use her size to create space. While Bueker finds ways to score around the paint, she’s able to use her head to figure where she should be rather than her body to bully her way down low.
That makes Shelby Thompson so valuable in her ability to open up the middle of the floor. Sadie Bueker and Jamie Sandschafer are also more than capable of hitting the outside shot as well – both made 3s on Friday night.
The outside shooting will continue to be a big factor in just how good the Shoes can be.
“That helped, because they were kind of collapsing in and they were left open after moving the ball well,” coach Thompson said. “When we move the ball well, we can get open shots like that. And those girls, when they’re wide open like that, they can hit that. And they finally decided to hit some, which was good.”
More than a game
Both schools came out in personalized warmups to raise awareness for breast carner. The warmups had the name of a loved one on the back -- who they were playing for.
Thompson was coaching for her mother Anita, a breast cancer survivor of 25 years.
The proceeds of the night went to the Wellness Center at St. Anthony Hospital.