Normally, Teutopolis Girls Basketball Coach Laurie Thompson doesn’t have to ask her players to smile for a trophy shot.
The Lady Wooden Shoes were posing with their second-place trophy from the Charleston Girls Holiday Tournament on Monday, Dec. 30. Some frowns were understandable after the 44-35 overtime loss to Paris.
What hurt most was the Shoes and their coach knew they could’ve have won the title at Charleston, but the Lady Tigers took advantage of mistakes by Teutopolis. It was a case of the title that got away.
“They panicked. They beat themselves. They [Paris] are a good team. There were some plays where they got some jump balls. They got hands on some balls. They got some hustle things on the lines we didn’t get to. That’s what happens when you get outplayed and outhustled,” Thompson said after the championship game.
The first half was good at times for the Shoes. They did surrender a comfortable lead as Paris kept scoring and produced defensive pressure. A breakdown of communication different times did aid the Tigers, who are good shooters and ballhandlers, Thompson said.
The Teutopolis Girls had been perfect through the tournament with wins over Effingham, 56-36, Cairo, 77-32, Charleston, 64-14 against mostly freshmen on the floor for the depleted Trojan team, and an overtime victory against Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin by the score of 56-49. There was no indication that Monday Teutopolis would not come out and run the table on tournament games for the championship.
In the third quarter, Thompson saw her players showing confusion and missing shots repeatedly. Paris took advantage. Teutopolis still had a chance to secure a victory in the final minutes, but Paris forced an overtime period.
The Shoes fell behind in the extra period and faced the frustration of letting one get away when the final buzzer sounded.
“The second half they started second-guessing themselves. When your top two scorers shoot 3 for 27, you’re not going to win too many ballgames. That’s what happened. It was very evident in the second half that that was taking place. We have got to learn from that. And if we don’t it’s going to be a long January,” said Thompson, noting the tough schedule ahead for her team with the start of 2020.