CHARLESTON — With the first basket of the second half by Charleston's Caleb Hurst, the Trojans led Taylorville in Friday's Apollo Conference game 48-38 at Baker Gymnasium. The Tornadoes rallied to take the lead 57-54 early in the fourth. Charleston scored 9 unanswered points to regain the lead, 63-57 midway through the fourth. The game was tied at 70 and Charleston had a chance for the win, but the shot missed, and in the extra four minutes Taylorville pulled away for an 83-74 win. The Tornadoes, who lost to Lincoln, the No. 6 team in Class 3A, twice, including 52-51 Jan. 26, improved to 20-3 overall and 6-2 in the conference.
Charleston came out on fire hitting 16-of-18 field goals (.889) in the opening 12:25 and led 40-33 on a bucket by Hurst off a feed from Luke Bell. The Trojans attacked Lincoln's zone defense and found open 3-pointers (6-of-7 857) during the first quarter and a half.
"It was a good thing. I know when I was talking with Jack Ashmore with the radio station before the game he was saying our percentage in the last four or five games was about 30 percent," said Charleston coach Blain Mayhall. "That is not good and that can really bring you down as a teenage boy. That gets demoralizing sometimes. We just tried to stay positive with them this week and made sure they knew we believe in them. You have to go out and keep shooting the ball. That is the only way to get better. You can't stop shooting. The percentage was good because we had good shot selection. We were sharing the ball really well with 21 assists and I was glad to see that because it has been a while since we have seen that. When you do the right things and the shots start to fall you feel a little better about yourself and I felt like they did tonight."
The Trojans led 70-68 after a layup by Cory Spour with 1:45 left in regulation. Taylorville got a steal and tied the game on a layup by Jase Bergschneider with 28 seconds left. Charleston called a time out then and again with 16.3 seconds left. Charleston's shot missed and Taylorville grabbed the rebound to send the game into overtime.
The game was tied for the ninth and final time with 2:27 left on a layup by Spour. Taylorville took the lead for good on a 3-point play by Nick Livingston with 2:19 left. The Trojans missed their final five field goal attempts, but still finished at 51 percent for the game. The Tornadoes made six of seven free throws in the final 1:59 and finished 11-of-12 from the free-throw line in helping them to the 9-point victory.
"Taylorville took the lead at the end of the third, but then we took it right back over and it was good to see that," said Mahall. "I am not trying to make excuses, but we are a young team and they are learning to play with each other. Besides Caleb (Hurst) no one else really got any varsity playing time last year. I know it is February, but it is not easy to do. Not as easy as what people think as to learning how to play with kids you never played with before. I really appreciated their effort and I thought they gave a really, really good team a good game."
Taylorville led by 6 in the opening quarter before Charleston went on an 18-9 run to lead 25-22 on a 3-pointer by Isaac Miller. Dayton Simpson scored the final four points for CHS in the first half to lead 46-38.
The Trojans lost to Taylorville 85-76 on Dec. 4 at Taylorville.
CHS has scored the second and third most points against the Tornadoes.
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Jase Bergschneider led Taylorville with 28 points, while Nick Livingston had 20 and Jack Livingston 19.
Hats off Taylorville," said Mayhall. "I have never seen a high school team shoot as well as they do from four spots. They have four starters that can shoot from anywhere. I thought our kids did a pretty good job with that."
Miller led the Trojans with 20 points, while Cade Landrus had 18 and Dayton Simpson had 15 points.
Charleston, 8-15 overall and 1-8 in the Apollo Conference, is to travel to Effingham to play Effingham St. Anthony at noon. Saturday at the Effingham St. Anthony grade school in a non-conference varsity only game. Originally the game was to be at Enlow Center.
Charleston presented a check to Taylorville for $1,104 form the CHS Club to help with their needs for the tornado that hit Taylorville a few months ago.
Charleston led 21-11 after the first quarter and 39-21 at the half en route to a 70-53 victory over Taylorville.
The Trojans finished with three players in double digits with Luke Bell leading the way with 20 points. Jackson Braun had 14 and Brayden Rennells had 10.