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SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Nelson helps lift Altamont to sectional final; Effingham, T-Town advance to sectional title games

Feb. 22—MOWEAQUA — When it came down to making winning plays, Altamont senior Grace Nelson was the one to make them.

Nelson scored 31 points and led her team to a 52-37 win over Tuscola in the Class 1A Moweaqua (Central A&M) Semifinals on Tuesday night. She had eight points in the first quarter, nine in the second, five in the third, and nine in the fourth.

Before the game, Nelson was worried, though.

"In warmups, I was like, 'Oh boy, this isn't going to be good.' I couldn't hit a shot," she said.

The Illinois State recruit didn't let her pre-game affect the in-game, and neither did the team.

Despite trailing the Lady Warriors 12-10 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Indians responded, outscoring Tuscola 12-9 in the second to take a one-point lead, 22-21, into the break. Altamont then led 36-28 after the third and sealed the deal in the fourth, outscoring the opposition 16-9.

Nelson put on a show in front of her future coach, Kristen Gillespie, as well.

"I was like, 'Hopefully, we can put on a good show for her,' but I was just being me," Nelson said. "That doesn't get to me."

Nelson was the only Altamont player in double figures in the scoring column. Peyton Osteen had nine, Skylie Klein had six, Kylie Osteen and Brianna Grunloh each had two, and Claire Boehm and Kaylee Lurkins each had one.

Turnovers hurt St. Anthony in loss to Salt Fork

Over the last two weeks, the same problem has continued for the St. Anthony girls basketball team.

Turnovers.

The Bulldogs had less than 15 against Brownstown/St. Elmo. They then had over 20 miscues in each of the next four outings and once more on Tuesday night against Salt Fork in the Class 1A Moweaqua (Central A&M) Sectional Semifinals. St. Anthony lost that contest 51-42.

Though the 20 turnovers that the Bulldogs committed proved costly, head coach Aaron Rios said the energy wasn't all there, either.

"Early on, we didn't come out with a lot of energy," Rios said. "I thought getting to a sectional, our kids would get excited and enthusiastic, but it seemed like we had to call a few timeouts early just to try and make some adjustments to do that, and we've seen that over the last couple of weeks."

St. Anthony trailed 12-6 at the end of the first quarter and 26-14 at halftime. The Bulldogs then found themselves in a 15-point hole, trailing 41-26 at the end of the third before outscoring Salt Fork 16-10 in the final frame.

Stacie Vonderheide finished with 22 points.

"I can't say enough about Stacie Vonderheide," Rios said. "At one point, she was averaging close to 30 (points per game) and 14-15 rebounds a game. She had four triple-doubles this year and a quadruple-double against Fairfield. All of those accolades don't even match who she is as a person and her character. She's clearly one of the most amazing kids I've had the opportunity to be around in my life."

Nancy Ruholl added 15 points. Addie Lauritzen had three, and Addi Nuxoll had two.

Effingham to play Highland for sectional championship

Behind 14 made three-pointers, the Effingham girls basketball team annihilated higher-seeded Mt. Vernon on Tuesday night in the Class 3A Effingham Sectional Semifinals at Effingham High.

Bria Beals made six three-pointers, while Bella Austin knocked down four, Averie Wolfe three, and Sidney Donaldson one in the Flaming Hearts' 75-59 victory.

Effingham started the game ahead by one point, 12-11, at the end of the first. A 25-point second stanza allowed the Hearts to head into the locker room ahead by 18 points, 37-19.

Effingham led by 17 at the end of the third. Mt. Vernon did outscore the Hearts 17-16 in the third and 23-22 in the fourth, but the second quarter proved to be the biggest shift in the contest.

Beals scored eight in the second and finished with 20 points. Alyssa Martin had 18, Wolfe had 16, Austin had 12, Donaldson had seven, and Saige Althoff had two.

Highland won the first semifinal of the evening, defeating Herrin 42-26.

Both teams met in December, with Highland winning 38-34.

Teutopolis set to take on Robinson for sectional crown

It's been four years since the Teutopolis girls basketball team could call itself sectional champions.

But the wait very well could be over.

The Lady Shoes defeated top-seeded Moroa-Forsyth in the Class 2A Newton Sectional Semifinals on Tuesday night, 56-48, to move to one win away from the program's 27th sectional title.

T-Town led 15-7 after the first quarter, 31-16 at halftime, and 43-40 at the end of the third. The Lady Shoes outscored Moroa-Forsyth 13-8 in the fourth.

Anna Probst led the way with 21 points, while Chloe Probst had 15, Isabelle Zerrusen 12, Summer Wall five, and Mollie Ruholl three.

Robinson won the other semifinal Tuesday night, defeating Paris 49-24.

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