MATTOON — The Mattoon boys basketball team had plenty of offense from behind the arc on Friday in their game against Rantoul. The Green Wave hit 14 3-pointers, including seven by junior Jacob Spitz.
But it was inside the arc that the Green Wave had problems. Mattoon finished with 19 total field goals, meaning the Green Wave only made five shots from inside 3-point range.
Rantoul was also hot from the outside with nine 3-pointers, but the Eagles made 14 shots from inside the arc to make up the difference.
The lack of production inside the arc cost Mattoon as the Green Wave dropped a 70-61 game to Rantoul on Friday.
“We established the outside game, and they took it away in the second half,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said. “We didn’t take advantage of the chances we had inside. We got the ball there, we just didn’t put the ball in the basket. Kids are trying. They are working, trying to do what we want. It will be nice to have two weeks of practice without a game so we can work on some things that we need to get fixed.”
Mattoon fell to 8-8 on the season, and Rantoul improved to 7-9 on the season.
Ten of Mattoon’s 14 3s came in the first half to give the Green Wave 37 points. But Mattoon only had a 2-point lead since the Green Wave had trouble getting stops throughout the game.
“It was a great offensive first half, but I thought it was pretty poor defensively,” Ghere said. “They go on a run and we had a 7-point lead and it was down to 2. We get a stop and a basket and go into halftime up 5 and maybe it’s a different game in the second half.
“Gotta give them credit. They stepped up and brought it to us in the second half.”
Rantoul won the rebounding battle 32 to 18, and Ghere said the Eagles just outworked his team for loose balls.
“I thought the biggest thing was loose balls, they got them all. Rebounds that were batted around, they came up with every one of them. Loose ball, they got on the floor and we didn’t,” Ghere said. “I thought they wanted it a little bit more than we did tonight. As a coach, that’s what’s frustrating, because we pride ourselves on playing hard and getting after it and outworking other teams, and I don’t think we did that tonight.”
Spitz led Mattoon with 21 points and Jadyn Princko hit five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Justus Donaldson had 11 points.
The game was tied at 14 in the first quarter when Rantoul grabbed a lead and went into the second up 22-17.
The two teams traded leads in the second quarter until Jake Ghere hit a runner and Spitz hit back-to-back 3s for a 34-27 lead. Rantoul went on a 5-0 run before the half to cut Mattoon’s lead to 37-35.
Rantoul got hot from behind the arc in the third quarter. Jametriel Hudson hit three 3-pointers during an 11-0 run for the Eagles for a 48-40 lead. Rantoul went into the fourth quarter up 55-45.
Mattoon went on an 11-4 run in the fourth quarter and Spitz’s seventh 3-pointer of the game cut Rantoul’s lead to 59-56, but the Eagles closed the game on an 11-5 run for the 70-61 win.
Mattoon jumped out to a 22-10 lead in the junior varsity game and went on to win 76-33. Brock Smith hit five 3-pointers and led Mattoon with 17 points. Dalton Compton, Lane Roley and Alex Yardley each scored 10 points for Mattoon.