BY ROBERT BESKOW
Times Sports Editor
VANDALIA — The Teutopolis Wooden Shoes took the Fairfield Mules’ best punch and then fought back to take a 55-47 win in the title game of the Class 2A Vandalia Sectional on Friday.
In front of an overflow crowd Fairfield took control early, getting 3-pointers from Wyatt Gilbert and Jayzale O’Neal in the quick start, but it was Fairfield’s defense that dominated the first quarter. The Wooden Shoes turned over the ball nine times and trailed 16-6 after the first quarter.
Two things changed the tone of the game in the second quarter. Teutopolis did a better job of handling the press and then getting the ball inside to 6’7” center Clint Weber. The other major factor was foul trouble for the Mules (9 fouls to 1 for Teutopolis by late in the quarter) which took an edge off the press. Fairfield was only able to maintain a 22-20 lead at the half.
Teutopolis was able to continue their game plan and get the ball inside in the second half, while Fairfield’s normaly deadly outside shooting completely abandoned them. The Wooden Shoes moved the lead out to 39-28 late in the third quarter on a steal and a dunk by Dawson Smith.
Fairfield gained some hope when O’Neal hit a 3-pointer to close out the third quarter to bring the score to 41-35. The Mules got as close as four points with possession of the ball in the fourth, but Teutopolis came up with some key stops and closed out the game.
It was the 13th sectional title for the Wooden Shoes. Fairfield closed out the year with a 32-3 record and fell just short of reaching the Elite 8 for the second time in school history.
“I thought if we could keep the game in the 50’s we would be in good shape,” said Teutopolis coach Chester Reeder. “Once we settled down and got the ball where it needed to be that’s when we made our run and our defense took over.”
Fairfield coach Scott McElravy looked back on the season.
“I love this group. Everyone played for the sake of the team. They are great kids and one game doesn’t take away from all they’ve done this year.”
1 2 3 4 T
TT 6 14 21 14 55
FF 16 6 13 12 47
TT - Clint Weber 20, Dawson Smith 18, Evan Wermert 6, Mitch Hardiek 4, Lucas Drees 4, Luke Ungrund 3.
FF - Wyatt Gilbert 15, Jayzale O’Neal 12, Brian Estes 8, Luke Dagg 6, Landon Zurliene 4, Cody Cantrell 2.