MATTOON — In the championship game of the 40th annual Mattoon Girls Basketball Holiday Tournament, it didn't look good for the host school, trailing Altamont 31-12 with 1:35 left in the first half.
That is when Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt switched her defense from man-to-man to a 1-2-2 full-court trap, which resulted in the Green Wave going into the locker room with the final 7 points and some much-needed momentum.
"They could have given up early when we got down and they didn't," said Aydt. "We fought back and had our chances at the end."
The tournament began with the two teams playing and Altamont winning 55-44.
Mattoon freshman Mallory Ramage made the 10-member all-tournament team.
The Green Wave began the second half with the first 3 points, including a basket by Delainey Bryant. Altamont's Tinley Mette ended the 10-0 run with a basket, their first in 4:18.
Altamont, who improved to 16-2, led 39-31 after back-to-back baskets by Allyson Hardiek. Mattoon finished off the third with the final 8 points starting with a 3-pointer by Jordan Sapp, two free throws by Bryant and a 3-pointer from the left wing by Ramage to tie the game at 39.
"It was huge to tie the game at the end of the third quarter," said Aydt. "We chipped away at the lead and got it even."
Sapp gave the Mattoon fans plenty to cheer about with 6:45 left in the game when she made a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Green Wave up for the first time, 42-41. However, it would be their only lead as the Lady Indians responded quickly with a 3-pointer by Brooke Runge. Leah Mayhaus followed with a bucket and one free throw for a 47-42 lead with 5:15 remaining.
Ramage ended the 6-0 run with a bucket midway through the fourth. A minute later, Runge's basket put Altamont up 51-44. The Green Wave fought to within 2 as Bryant had a 3-point play and Sapp sank two free throws with 1:33 left.
Bryant sank a 3-pointer with 15.2 seconds left to make it 55-54, Altamont. Mattoon forced a jump ball, but on the alternating possession, it was the Lady Indians ball with 9.6 seconds left. Mette finished off the scoring with two free throws for the three-point win.
"I am very proud of the girls," said Aydt. "They did a great job of fighting back and getting in the game. You have to give Altamont credit. They are a great basketball team."
As for Ramage, a freshman, making the all-tournament team, Aydt said, "She had an outstanding tournament for us and she is playing really well. "
Ramage and Bryant led Mattoon with 19 and 14 points. The Green Wave struggled shooting going 19-of-73 (.260), but were 8-of-17 (.471) from 3-point range and 9-of-13 (.692) from the free-throw line. Mattoon had 42 rebounds (Altamont had 30), including 20 offensive. Ramage was tops in rebounds and steals with nine and three respectively.
Altamont was 24-of-45 (.533) from the field and was led by Mette with 13, while Mayhaus had 12 and Hardiek 11.
Mattoon went 3-2 in the tourney.
"I think we got better this tournament," said Aydt. "We learned some things and made some changes and our girls executed our game plans, played hard and did a lot of great things."
In Friday's games, Mattoon picked up two victories beating Salem 52-38 and Galesburg 55-50.
Mattoon, 11-7, is to return to Apollo Conference play as they travel to Mount Zion Thursday.
Mattoon 52, Salem 38
Mattoon outscored the Lady Wildcats 20-8 in the opening quarter and led 36-28 after three quarters.
Ramage led the way with 20 points, including 13 in the second half, while Bryant had 14, including 7 in the fourth quarter. Flannery Sanders had 11 points as well, while Jordan Sapp had a team-high nine rebounds.
MHS has 12 steals and 16-of-39 from the field.
Mattoon 55, Galesburg 50
Mattoon outscored the Lady Silverstreaks 24-14 in the first and third quarters to help them to victory.
Ramage had a team-high 24 points, including 11 in the second quarter and 8 in the fourth, while Grace McDowell was also in double figures with 11 points.