MATTOON -- The Mattoon boys’ basketball team knew its four-game winning streak was going to be tested on Tuesday against Mahomet-Seymour since the Bulldogs came in with a 5-0 Apollo Conference record.
The Green Wave were able to stick with the Bulldogs for the most part and had a lead early in the second quarter. But too many mishaps and misreads allowed Mahomet-Seymour to retake the lead in the second quarter.
Mattoon was only down by four points going into the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs found a way to put the game out of reach and snapped the Green Wave’s winning streak with a 56-42 victory.
Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said execution down the stretch played a key role in the loss.
“They come out to start fourth quarter and run a set-piece that we went over on the scouting report and they hit a big three. Then the next time down, they get a backdoor layup on a play that was on the scouting report, too,” Ghere said. “That’s frustrating, but once you get out there, it’s hard to recognize that. The kids are defending a bunch of different things. They are a good team, a smart team. There’s a reason they are at the top of the conference.”
Mahomet-Seymour improved to 13-4 overall and 6-0 in the Apollo. Mattoon fell to 8-7 overall and 1-5 in the Apollo.
Mattoon turned the ball over three times early in the game as Mahomet-Seymour took the lead. The Green Wave bounced back and had a lead, but turned the ball over seven times in the second quarter and finished the game with 19 turnovers.
“We had a three, four-point lead and didn’t extend it when we had a chance,” Ghere said. “They took some starters off the floor and I think the coach was frustrated with them a little bit and we didn’t take advantage of them having some younger guys on the floor. Our guys battled and competed, we just turned the ball over too much.
“Unforced turnovers, that’s the big thing. Two or three times that we threw it into the bleachers or to a guy who didn’t want the ball. Things we can fix and things we can work on. They are a good team. We just have to play better and keep working.”
Jaydn Princko and Jaydon Noe each scored 12 points for Mattoon. The Bulldogs made a major effort to keep the ball out of the paint and out of Deandre Thomas’ hands and he was held to five points.
“You can see when we play conference games, everybody knows everybody so well,” Ghere said. “They made a point of emphasis to take Deandre away. He still had a good game. He worked hard inside. We didn’t get him the ball a few times when he was open and he didn’t convert a couple of times.
“He just keeps getting better, keeps working hard. The thing about Deandre is he is so coachable and he listens so well and he wants to do well and wants to get better and he works hard at it.”
Noah Benedict led Mahomet-Seymour with 20 points and Cory Noe and Holt Campion each had 12 points. When the Bulldogs needed a key bucket, usually Benedict or Campion scored it.
“I thought our guys kinda found them and we settled down. We reversed the ball a little more and got better looks at the basket,” Mahomet-Seymour head coach Chad Benedict said. “I thought we shared the ball better in the second half than the second half.”
Mahomet-Seymour started the game with a 4-0 lead and Mattoon had three turnovers before it even scored.
Mattoon’s first basket came at the 4:31 mark of the first quarter when Noe hit a 3-pointer and it sparked a 10-0 run to allow the Green Wave to go up 10-4. Mattoon only had one turnover in the final 4:31 of the quarter and went into the second with a 10-6 lead.
Mattoon was up 13-9 with 6:48 left in the half when the Green Wave had trouble taking care of the ball again. Mattoon turned the ball over seven times in the second quarter and went almost 6 minutes without a bucket.
The Bulldogs, which only scored six points in the first quarter, came alive with a 10-0 run over a 5-minute stretch to go up 19-13.
Mattoon took care of the ball in the final minute and Princko broke the scoring drought with a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Noe added a runner right before the half as Mattoon cut Mahomet-Seymour’s lead to 20-18 going into halftime.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with back-to-back layups for a six point lead. The two teams traded buckets throughout the quarter and Mahomet-Seymour held onto a 36-32 lead going into the fourth.
The Bulldogs held Mattoon without a field goal in the first 3 minutes of the fourth quarter and went on an 11-4 run in that span to take a 47-36 lead.
Mahomet-Seymour’s lead reached as much as 15 points and the Bulldogs went on to win 56-42.
Mahomet-Seymour won the junior varsity game 51-37. Mattoon trailed by double-digits at halftime, but made it a six-point game with 22 points in the third quarter. But the Bulldogs held on to win.
Meade Johnson led Mattoon with 14 points.