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Effingham wins first regional since 2019 after double overtime victory against Centralia; St. Anthony, T-Town both continue respective seasons

Feb. 16—CENTRALIA — Jeff Schafer felt like he ran a marathon after Thursday night's regional championship game against Centralia.

Effingham and the Orphan Annies needed eight extra minutes to decide a victor and a regional champion.

The Flaming Hearts were the ones to raise the plaque in the end, though, defeating Centralia 61-59 in double overtime to win the program's first regional championship since 2019.

"We played a good game. There were some spurts where we weren't very good, but just weathered the storm," Schafer said.

Effingham trailed 10-9 at the end of the first quarter and led 22-19 at halftime.

"We had a chance to pull away in the second quarter, and the game got pretty physical," Schafer said. "We did a little too much complaining and not enough playing. They made about a five or six-point run to end the half."

The Hearts extended its lead to four points, 33-29, heading into the fourth after outscoring Centralia 11-10 in the stanza. The Orphan Annies returned the favor, though, outscoring Effingham 15-11 in the fourth to send the game into overtime.

"I don't know how many lead changes there were, but my goodness, it was a battle royale," Schafer said. "We had a chance to put the game away with about three minutes to go. They kept coming and coming and coming."

Both teams scored six points in the first overtime. The Hearts bested Centralia in the second extra period by an 11-9 score.

Alyssa Martin did the bulk of her work in both overtime periods, scoring nine of her 15 points.

"The kid averages like 12 points a game on seven shots. The bottom line is she needs to take more shots, but that's how efficient she is," Schafer said.

Sidney Donaldson led the team with 23 points.

"She was huge," Schafer said. "I told her, 'You had a monster game. You still had some shots at the end that hurt us a little bit, but it's still a learning process.' She battled and battled at their big girl, and defensively, she made that girl work."

Bella Austin had eight points. Saige Althoff had six. Averie Wolfe had five, and Bria Beals had four.

Effingham will now play the winner of Mt. Vernon and East St. Louis on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in one of two sectional semifinals at Effingham High School. Either Highland or Mattoon will face Herrin in the first semifinal at 6 p.m.

St. Anthony wins a third-straight regional

Winning is all that matters at this point in the season. It doesn't matter if it's pretty or ugly.

For St. Anthony, it was the latter against Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg in its regional championship game at the Enlow Center.

The Bulldogs led 18-11 after the first quarter, 29-18 at halftime, and 39-27 at the end of the third. The Hatchets made things interesting, though, outscoring St. Anthony 16-11 in the fourth to fall by seven, 50-43. The regional win was the third successive for the Bulldogs.

Nancy Ruholl finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals. Stacie Vonderheide had 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Addi Nuxoll had 12 points and 15 rebounds, and Addie Lauritzen had three points and 10 rebounds.

Ella Kinkelaar and Kendra Hayes led Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg with 12 points each. Ellie Wittenberg had 10. Samantha Hayes had eight, and Katelyn VonBehrens had one.

St. Anthony will now face either Catlin (Salt Fork) or Arcola on Tuesday at Central A&M in Moweaqua in one of two sectional semifinals at 6 p.m.

Teutopolis wins 13th regional in the last 14 years

Regional wins for the Teutopolis girls basketball team aren't typically always as nerve-racking.

The Lady Shoes have had a stranglehold over each regional they've been in for 13 of the last 14 years. The only exception was the COVID-19 season of 2021, where no postseason was played.

Thursday night, however, proved to be different.

T-Town came into its game against Mt. Carmel the No. 3 seed and the underdog, and walked out with another regional championship to display in the hallways at Teutopolis High School.

Junior guard Mollie Ruholl was one reason for the victory, hitting a three-pointer with under five seconds left to all but seal the game.

Ruholl finished with 10 points, tying Chloe Probst for the team-high in that category.

Anna Probst and Summer Wall each had eight points, and Isabelle Zerrusen had seven in the win.

T-Town trailed 12-4 after the first quarter, led 27-26 at halftime, and 37-36 at the end of the third. The Lady Shoes then outscored Mt. Carmel 6-4 in the final stanza to continue its season.

T-Town will now face Moroa-Forsyth in one of two sectional semifinals at Newton High School on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 618-510-9231 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.