CHARLESTON — The Mattoon boys basketball team had its chances to beat Charleston at Baker Gym on Friday. Then Charleston had its chances to beat Mattoon. Then it flip-flopped again, and again.
The game went back-and-forth between the two Coles County rivals with countless lead changes when finally Mattoon took enough control of the game in the second overtime. The Trojans made a push in the final seconds, but Mattoon survived a game-winning shot attempt by Charleston and the Green Wave came away with a 59-58 win.
“That’s as back-and-forth as you can get. I don’t know how many lead changes. We thought we had it won several times and thought we had it lost several times,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said. “The kids never gave up, kept battling until the end and we made enough plays to win by one.”
It’s the fourth straight win for Mattoon, which is 9-6 on the season. For Ghere, it was a big win because the team was able to pull out a close win and pick up its first Apollo Conference win of the season.
Mattoon is 1-4 in the Apollo.
“It’s big. It’s a cross-county rival. It’s our first Apollo win. It’s four in a row and five out of six,” Ghere said. “Every win is big, but to just keep winning close games and keep finding a way and gaining confidence. These guys have bought in and they do everything we ask them to do. They don’t always do it perfectly, but they try. We battled and we competed.”
DeAndre Thomas led Mattoon with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Jaydon Noe had 22 points and six rebounds.
Ghere said Mattoon didn’t shoot the ball well, but the team still found a way to get the win.
“In the past, when we don’t shoot the ball very well, everything else follows and we don’t play well,” Ghere said. “We overcame it with rebounding. Our zone helped us out on defense. We forced a couple of turnovers late to get back in the game when we were down four in regulation.”
Charleston had a four-point lead in the final minute of regulation, but had three turnovers that allowed Mattoon to come back and tie the game to send the game to its first overtime.
Charleston coach Blain Mayhall said it’s those kinds of plays that cost the Trojans.
“When you are four points with under a minute left and you give away the ball two or three times, you don’t deserve to win,” Mayhall said. “That’s what we do every time we are close in a game, we give it away. It’s mental toughness. We talk about it all of the time and they lack it. At some point, they have to figure it out. Some of those points are running out because the year is almost over.”
Charleston fell to 4-10 overall with the loss and 0-5 in the Apollo.
Darrell Phillips had 20 points for Charleston, and Blake Bonnstetter had 12 points.
A putback by Jadyn Princko and a jumper by Justus Donaldson gave Mattoon an early 4-1 lead, but both players got in foul trouble later in the quarter. But Mattoon got big bench minutes from Thomas and Cam Considine throughout the game.
“We made a lineup change today and Deandre came off the bench and played like a man. They couldn’t guard him in the post for a while and that hurt when he went out on fouls,” Ghere said. “Cam gave us great minutes when Jadyn was in foul trouble.”
Charleston came back and took an 11-9 lead going into the second quarter. Mattoon went on an 11-2 run to take a 20-13 lead in the second, but Charleston went on an 8-3 run to cut Mattoon’s lead to 23-21 at halftime.
Chase Staggs scored four points in the run for Charleston and finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
“He played well. It’s good to see him do that,” Mayhall said. “In practice, he’s a really good practice player, but in games, he usually folds. He knows that, we’ve talked about that and he did do a nice job tonight.”
Mattoon held onto the 33-32 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Thomas had a personal 6-0 run to give Mattoon a 39-34 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Green Wave had trouble holding onto the ball for a 3-minute stretch. Mattoon turned the ball over five times and Charleston went on an 11- 2 run to go up 45-41 with 1:26 left in the game.
But then the Trojans had trouble with the ball as they turned it over 3 times in the final 1:26. Jaydon Noe got a steal and a layup. He was fouled but missed the free throw. But Donaldson got the rebound. He missed his shot, but Noe grabbed the rebound and scored to tie the game at 45 with 49 seconds left. Neither team could hit a go-ahead shot, sending the game to overtime.
Thomas put Mattoon ahead 50-47 in overtime with back-to-back buckets, but he fouled out of the game. Mattoon still had a 53-50 lead in the final minute when Blake Bonnstetter hit a three to tie the game. Neither team hit a go-ahead shot, sending the game to double-overtime.
With the game tied at 55 in the double overtime, Mattoon went on a 4-0 run to go up 59-55 with 14 seconds left.
Cade Landrus hit a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game and Charleston forced a jump ball to get the ball back. But the Trojans almost turned it over and it led to a long jumper by Hurst that was too long as Mattoon got the 59-58 win.
“That’s why kids play and that’s why people come out to watch high school basketball,” Ghere said. “This is a classic and people will talk about this one for a while.”
Charleston came back from double digits to win the junior varsity game 61-47 to improve to 5-1. Cade Landrus led Charleston with 22 points and he hit six 3-pointers. Sam Bickford had 10 points for the Trojans.
For Mattoon, Dalton Compton had 14 points and hit four 3-pointers. Conner Barnes scored 10 points for the Green Wave.