MATTOON -- For the second time this season, the Mattoon girls’ basketball team was able to give one of the top Apollo Conference teams a battle through a half. The first time was against Charleston when the Green Wave had a halftime lead on the Lady Trojans. Charleston pulled away in the third quarter and went on to win.
On Monday, the Green Wave went into halftime tied at 20 against a 12-win Lincoln team with only one Apollo loss.
But just like the Charleston game, Lincoln found a way to pull away in the third quarter and the Railsplitters went on to beat Mattoon 50-38.
Mattoon fell to 8-12 on the season and 1-5 in the Apollo.
Even though Mattoon lost, coach Amanda Aydt was excited about how the team played, especially since the Green Wave lost the first matchup earlier this season to Lincoln by 30 points.
“We came in with a gameplan and I thought our girls did a good job of executing it,” Aydt said. “(Lincoln) went on a run in the third quarter and they hit some big shots with a hand in their face. Lincoln is a good basketball team. You’ve got to give them credit.
“I am proud of our girls. They come to practice every day ready to work hard. We are making strides in the right direction. They put the time in every day and it shows. I think we have made improvements.”
Lincoln’s defensive pressure helped keep Mattoon’s offense off-balance in the second half. The Railsplitters forced 24 turnovers in the game, including 14 in the second half.
“That’s a great defensive effort,” Lincoln coach Taylor Richmond said. “I am proud of our kids for moving their feet and getting after it and setting the traps the way we are suppose to be doing.”
Ashlyn MacDonald and Bella Coffey each had 11 points for the Green Wave. Kaelyn Froebe led Lincoln (13-3, 5-1) with 12 points and Leah Schneider and Emma Konczyk each had 11 points.
Lincoln had a 4-3 lead early in the game when a 7-0 run put Mattoon up 10-4. The Green Wave went into the second quarter up 13-8.
Lincoln scored the first five points of the second to tie the game at 13 and the two teams traded buckets and went into half knotted up at 20.
Mattoon kept the game tied at halftime with good rebounding and defense. Grace McDowell had nine rebounds and MacDonald had seven for the game.
“They were huge on the defensive end with getting rebounds and getting stops,” Aydt said. “Everyone did well on the defensive end and executed our gameplan. Flannery Sanders was guarding their best player and I thought she did a great job against her. Everyone did what they had to do and we had our chances.”
Konczyk scored off an offensive rebound to start the second half and the two teams traded buckets again to keep the game tied at 24.
Froebe hit a three to break the tie and Konczyk followed with a 3-pointer of her own as the two sparked a 13-0 run for the Railers.
“A couple of big shots, that usually motivates the defense to get after it,” Richmond said. “Froebe’s shot, Konczyk’s shot and Kennedy (Lolling) did a good job at top putting pressure on Mattoon defensive. Got a few tips, a few steals, a few layups and that was really big for us.”
MacDonald broke an almost 4-minute drought with a bucket, but the Green Wave still trailed 37-26 going into the fourth quarter.
Lincoln held onto the double-digit lead for most of the fourth quarter and went on to win 50-38.
Mattoon won the junior varsity game 39-33. The Green Wave trailed 20-19 at the half. Mattoon held Lincoln to six points in the third quarter to pull ahead and held on for 39-33 win.
LiliAnna Prior hit three 3-pointers and led Mattoon with 13 points and Morgan Otto had 11 points.