DIETERICH -- For the Movin' Maroons, Friday encapsulated what had gone down for the entire season -- domination.
Dieterich wrapped up its regular season with an 83-35 win against Cowden-Herrick to finish 28-0 heading into the postseason. And they had the chance to do it in front of a home crowd.
"Just one of those season where you'll look back in 20 years and go, 'How?'" Dieterich coach Jeff Staser said. "You can't script it. You have to take your hats off to the kids to keep focus every night throughout the season and play the quality of basketball they played for 28 games and I'm just glad to be a part of it and be their coach."
The win came just days after Dieterich moved to No. 1 in the AP poll for Class 1A. The Maroons had been in the top 10 all season after a sectional title last year.
"At this point, these kids have had a target on their back almost the while season," Staser added. "Being undefeated, we weathered the storm.
"We appreciate the feedback we're getting, the community is behind us fully and as a basketball coach, it is exciting to be a part of this team and what's happening in this community. You pinch yourself every now and then."
Alex Bohnhoff had another big night, scoring 27 points to lead the Maroons. He and Feldhake each hit 4 3-pointers, as Dieterich continued to pummel the basket from long range.
Now Dieterich moves into regional play in Oblong where it has a first-round bye before playing Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"At this point, everyone is 0-0 and we have to survive and advance," Staser said.
Meridian 75, Tuscola 55
TUSCOLA -- As the Hawks (18-9, 5-2 CIC) continued their effort in battling the flu, Zach Huggins took care of business on the court.
The Meridian junior dropped 29 on Tuscola as the short-handed Hawks had one of their best offensive quarters of the year in the second. Meridian scored 30 points in those eight minutes.
But it was Huggins all night as he connected on 9 of 11 3-pointers.
"I didn't like that we've been battling the flu lately. We had some of our starters that didn't even play tonight because of it, which was really concerning," Meridian coach Jack Blickensderfer said. "Hutchins going in and scoring 29 -- that was amazing.
"Really, it was the wounded warriors. Our kids responded well and it was a nice win going into our regional. Hopefully this will carry over for us and bring some enthusiasm and confidence."
Nick Bates had 21 for Tuscola (13-12, 2-5).
MacArthur 78, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 69
DECATUR -- A defensive wrinkle and some offense from freshman Amir Brummett off the bench gave MacArthur a win after a slow start.
The game was tied 17-17 after a quarter, but the Generals (18-8, 11-5 Central State 8) took control with a 20-13 advantage in the second quarter.
"Our boys came out flat in the first quarter," MacArthur coach Ron Ingram said. "We called a timeout and regrouped with our defense. We ran a defense we had been working on in practice and that got us back in it."
Brummett came off the bench and had 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
"He gave us a big spark," Ingram said. "When he came in, we were down. He brought us back in the game."
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Also for MacArthur, Kamari Jones had 23 points -- 21 in the second half -- and Keymonta Johnson had 18.
"Kamari hit some big shots, had some big rebounds and had a couple key steals down the stretch," Ingram said.
Mount Zion 67, Charleston 55
MOUNT ZION -- Mount Zion remained in a three-way tie for the Apollo Conference lead, surviving a flurry of 3-pointers from Charleston.
“It looked like they were playing HORSE in the first few minutes,” Mount Zion coach Ryan Brown said.
Charleston led at half, but when Mount Zion's pressure turned turned up the heat it was able to take the lead for good.
Charleston's Will Strader hitting 7 of 10 3-point shots on a 23-point night for a Charleston team (5-20, 1-8 Apollo) that totaled 13 3-point baskets.
“I felt we played pretty well other than when we let them get on the run in the second half,” Charleston coach Jim Wood said. “Our defense wasn't that bad in the second half. They just got some baskets when we turned it over."
That was the intent for Mount Zion (16-12, 7-2), as it had to rally from a 28-25 halftime.
“We were able to rev up the defense,” Brown said. “We made them make some bad passes and played just well enough to win tonight. Thank goodness for Austin Thacker. He saved us tonight.”
Thackerer scored 22 points and hit five of his team's nine 3-pointers.
When Thacker wasn't doing that damage sophomore AJ Davis was tossing in the other Braves' other four 3s, adding 16 points off the bench.
Argenta-Oreana 69, Arcola 62
ARCOLA -- The Bombers had a big second half offensively to go into regionals with some momentum.
After trailing 31-26 at half, Argenta outscored Arcola 43-31 in the second half, including 24-14 in the fourth.
"We stepped it up on offense and made stops on the defensive end," Argenta coach Tom Saunches said.
The Bombers had four players in double figures, with Keegan McHood leading the way with 24, Derek Jones scoring 16, Konnor Damery 15 and Tyler Hemmen 10. Jones and Hemmen each had eight points in the final quarter.
Taylorville 73, Mattoon 67
MATTOON -- The Tornadoes held off Mattoon by hitting 5-of-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
With the win, Taylorville (19-9, 7-2) remained in a three-way tie for first in the Apollo. The Tornadoes play fellow 7-2 Effingham next week, while Mount Zion plays Salem.
Mattoon (8-16) jumped to an 11-0 lead, but Taylorville's 1-2-2 zone press helped force 10 second-quarter turnovers for Mattoon and the Tornadoes led 42-29 at half.
“It is what we hang our hat on,” Taylorville coach Carey McVickers said of his team's defense. “We like to play up tempo and we like to run on offense. When we can get teams to play sloppy with the ball, we will take advantage.”