SALEM -- Not many teams could come back from scoring one point in a quarter to winning that game -- let alone a sectional final. 

But that's what Effingham was able to do Thursday in its Class 3A Salem sectional final game with Breese Mater Dei, winning 42-40. 

The Flaming Hearts and the Knights were tied 10-10 after the first quarter and then Effingham's offense hit a wall, scoring one point the rest of the half as Mater Dei led 20-11 at the half. 

It was the Hearts' defense kept them in the game. 

"Our defense got us through our tough first half of shooting. We just showed a lot of resilience against a very good team," Effingham coach Jeff Schafer said. "Coach Koehnen does an awesome job with his kids, and it’s a real battle. Defensively, we were really good, as were they. We limited their leading scorers and finally got our offense clicking after half time."

Effingham responded and shook off the second quarter by scoring 20 points in the third to tighten the game to a one-point deficit, 32-31.

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The Hearts then won the fourth quarter, outscoring the Knights 11-8 to come away with the remarkable two-point victory. 

“It was just an incredible game of basketball for us. I am just so proud of our kids’ effort and that will to find a way," Schafer  said. "I just can’t say enough about our players and a great crowd that really provided some extra energy in that second-half comeback.”

Effingham's Carsyn Fearday led all scorers with 20 points and Abby Weis added 15.

Shannon Lampe led Breese with 11 points and Abby Braundmeier put in eight. 

Effingham will face Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, the winner of the Taylorville sectional, in the super-sectionals on Monday at 7 p.m. at the University of Illinois Springfield. 

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Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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