CHARLESTON — The first time the Charleston and Mattoon girls basketball teams played, Mattoon was looking to pull off an upset and had a halftime lead.
Charleston had a big second half and avoided the upset.
It was a different game the second time around. Mattoon had a lead, but it was only for about 2 minutes in the first quarter.
Charleston controlled the rest of the game, and after taking an early lead, the Lady Trojans built on it and went on to beat Mattoon 74-56 on Saturday at Baker Gym.
“We can score points. Defensively, I was a little disappointed. We did some things that characteristically, we don’t normally do,” Charleston coach Jeff Miller said. “Still, it’s a nice win for us. We are running out of Apollo Conference games, and we go to Lincoln on Monday.”
While there was a hiccup or two for Charleston, senior guard Hope Griffin said the Lady Trojans were working on a few new plays offensively.
“We are learning to drive more and not relying on the 3,” Griffin said. “We are also working on passing the ball more and just relying on each other as teammates. We are starting to blend a lot better.”
Charleston (19-1) moves to 8-1 in Apollo Conference play, setting up a key game at Lincoln on Monday. The Railsplitters are 7-1 in conference play, and the Lady Trojans are tied with Effingham at 8-1 at the top of the Apollo.
“It feels great, and we are ready for Lincoln,” Griffin said. “We have to work on a few things, but as a team, we are there.”
Mattoon fell to 9-15 overall and 2-7 in the Apollo.
“I am proud of the girls. I am very pleased with the effort,” Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt said. “I thought our girls played hard until the very end. Our girls never gave up.”
Mattoon opened with a 5-2 lead after a 3-pointer from Bella Coffey and a layup by Avery Risinger. Charleston came right back with an 11-0 run. Paige Swango hit a couple of 3-pointers during the run for a 13-5 lead. The Lady Trojans went into the second quarter with a 21-12 lead.
Coffey helped Mattoon chip away at the lead with four 3-pointers in the first 4 minutes of the second quarter as the Green Wave pulled within five points at 31-26.
Coffey finished with 25 points and hit five 3-pointers.
“Bella had a great game. She hit some big shots for us and also did a great job of attack the basket and getting to the free-throw line,” Aydt said.
Swango came right back with a 3-pointer, Hope Griffin hit a short baseline jumper, and Kaitlyn Coffey made a free throw to put Charleston up by double digits at 37-26.
“When you are playing the caliber of Mattoon or Effingham or whoever it may be, you have to expect those,” Miller said. “We call it 'weathering the storm,' and we did. We maintained our composure during some of Mattoon’s runs. The girls did a pretty good job.”
The Lady Trojans went into halftime with a 41-30 lead.
Both offenses got off to a slow start in the third quarter when a 7-0 run gave Charleston a 55-40 lead. The Lady Trojans went into the third quarter with a 57-45 lead.
Swango got Charleston off to a hot start in the fourth quarter as she went on a personal 8-2 run for a 65-47 lead with 4:57 remaining. Swango finished with 11 points in the quarter and had 23 for the game.
“They came out in a 1-2-2 defense and ran some junk defenses against us and used a box-and-one and shut her down a little bit,” Miller said. “Fourth quarter, (Mattoon) had to come out in man-to-man, and Paige gets to the rim pretty well, and she was knocking down some of those mid-range shots.”
Charleston went on to win 74-56.
Charleston won the junior varsity game 33-24. Charleston jumped out to a 14-4 lead in the first quarter when Mattoon made it a 1-point game going into halftime. Charleston held Mattoon to 9 points in the second half. Regan Bollant scored 9 points for Charleston and Grace Conyers hit three 3-pointers and had 9 points for Mattoon.