NORMAL — For the second straight season, Chicago Marshall came back against Teutopolis.
A year after Marshall beat Teutopolis in the semifinals of the Class 2A State Tournament, the teams met in the title game this time, with Marshall coming from 14 points down in the second half to win 47-44 for the Commandos' second straight state title and 10th under coach Dorothy Gaters.
Teutopolis took an early lead that stretched to nine, 12-3 to end the first quarter, then 10, 28-18, at halftime.
Claire Bushur scored 10 points in the first half on 5-for-6 shooting and Lexie Niebrugge led scorers with 13 first-half points.
"Anyone can step up for us and that's how it has been all year," Teutopolis coach Laurie Thompson said. "Sadie (Bueker) might score 20 and then next night it might be Lexie (Niebrugge). Claire (Bushur) can do it, Morgan (Mette) can do it. It's big when someone is down, someone else can lift us up,"
The Shoes’ lead grew to 14, 35-21, with 4:21 left in the third quarter following a three-point play from Hope Bueker.
But Marshall followed with a 9-0 run punctuated by a long 3-pointer from Niyah Zamudio, bringing Marshall back to within five, 35-30.
"I thought we did a nice job defensively of keeping them in check," Thompson said. "I thought we played well but at the very end we had some bad turnovers that gave them some easy baskets and they got in transition on those easy baskets and they made them and that hurt us."
Marshall reeled in T-Town the rest of the way, outscoring the Shoes 15-5 to take a 45-44 with just over a minute left.
Marshall's Roquesna Sims hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to give the Commandos a three-point lead, 47-44.
The Shoes missed two 3-point shots, then called a timeout with one second left in the game. Sadie Bueker's final shot fell short as well to give Marshall back-to-back Class 2A state championships.
"We got what we wanted. We got good shots off and we had one second to run a play that worked really well," Thompson said. "Sadie Bueker, that's who I would want taking that shot, and she took the shot and I know she is hanging her head a little bit but she has nothing to hang her head because we got the shot we wanted."
Sadie Bueker finished with 17 to lead T-Town. Claire Bushur added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The connections between this year and last year's game are undeniable.
"It was a pretty similar game and we didn't take care of the ball when we needed to," Thompson said. "I thought that cost us but I think we did some things better than last year. We rebounded better than we did last year."
Last year, the Commandos didn't score a point until the second quarter and were down 21-9 at halftime against Teutopolis. The score was knotted 36-36 at the end of regulation and both offenses could only pull together two points in the first overtime period. Marshall went on to win the second overtime period, 8-5, and claimed the state title.
The Wooden Shoes will graduate five players — Mette, Savannah Grimes, Bueker, Emma Deters and Hannah Pruemer.
"I've got great seniors that worked hard and played hard for us and I know they really wanted this tonight," Thompson said. "I told them, 'This is tough, but you will get through it. I know it seems bad but it is alright. You came and you have nothing to be ashamed of."
Teutopolis (33-5) takes home its sixth second-place trophy in school history after making its fifth trip to the state tournament since the 2007-08 season.
"We have had a very extraordinary season and I'm extremely proud of these girls. They went back-to-back to state and they were beaten by a nice team," Thompson said. "They are coachable and they would do everything we ask and they have. They would run through that wall for me."