MATTOON — Saturday’s non-conference matchup between Mattoon and Marshall was a game of big runs. Mattoon mounted a late fourth-quarter run before being stopped short by Marshall’s outside shooting.
The Green Wave (6-2) used an early run to jump out to a 14-point lead in the second quarter before Marshall (7-1) used runs of its own to seal a 43-39 victory.
With multiple players finding themselves in foul trouble early for the Lady Lions, Mattoon was able to capitalize, jumping out to a 17-6 lead after one quarter of play.
“Our girls came out ready to play,” Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt said. “That’s probably one of the best quarters we’ve played all year.”
Ashlyn MacDonald dominated the paint early for the Green Wave, scoring 11 of her 20 points in the first quarter while pulling down four rebounds.
Marshall responded in the second quarter, trailing 24-10, and with two key players forced to the bench in foul trouble, Marshall’s Jillian Hiatt stepped up, hauling in five rebounds and scoring four points to help close the gap to seven at 24-17 heading into the half.
Marshall head coach Kathy Miller used the comeback to remind her team that they could compete.
“We were making progress getting back in the game,” she told her team. “It was just a question of stopping (MacDonald) inside and playing a little smarter than we were. I don’t think we played necessarily smart today.”
MacDonald said after the game that she felt the adjustments in the second half.
“As soon as I would catch the ball, Marshall started collapsing on me,” the senior said. “Just having all that pressure, it is harder to get the ball up, and it’s harder to also pass the ball back out to the wings.”
The pressure continued in the second half. With Hughes leading the offense for the Lady Lions, Marshall re-took the lead on a 3-pointer from Macy Clark, putting her team up 29-26.
Outscoring Mattoon 11-3 in the third quarter, Marshall took a 34-27 lead into the final quarter.
One last attempt to tie the game for Mattoon fell short after Flannery Sanders was unable to sink a pair of free throws. Up 36-35, Clark drained another a 3 to put her team back out front and kill any momentum the Green Wave had going.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Aydt said. “We went on a run early, they went on a run after we did, and we made a run there at there at the end.”
Aydt said her team would use the tightly contested game as a learning experience and get better from it.
Mattoon travels to Taylorville for a matchup for an Apollo Conference game Monday.
Junior varsity falls
The Mattoon junior varsity also lost a close game, falling 40-39.