In sports, very seldom is there a performance that borders on perfection. Which is why after allowing just one point over a 17-minute stretch, and surrendering four lonely field goals throughout the course of the game, there are few other words to describe the Teutopolis defense Thursday night at the Cumberland Regional final.
The Lady Shoes allowed a single point in the second quarter, and held Greenville scoreless in the third to capture yet another regional title with their 35-12 victory.
"I was very, very pleased with our defensive effort," Lady Shoes' coach Laurie Thompson said. "I thought all my girls did a super job. I would have never guessed that they would only have four [field goals]."
Ahead 8-5 after one quarter, Teutopolis dialed up the defensive effort in the second frame. With constant pressure on the Lady Comets' guards, Teutopolis forced six turnovers in the quarter.
"Greenville runs its offense through its two guards," Thompson said, "and we needed to take them out of the game."
Assigned with guarding Greenville's Maria Reinhard and Kassidy Alderman, Cierra Thompson and Danielle Repking did more than hold their own. The only Greenville points came on a free throw with 45 seconds remaining in the half.
"We were focused," coach Laurie Thompson said, "and we were ready to play. These girls can play defense when they want to."
Although the score sheet does not paint an accurate picture, the Lady Shoes' offense also played with poise. Cierra Thompson leaped in front of a lazy Greenville pass to coast for an easy lay-up in the second quarter, and Madeline Hartke cleared out space in the paint on the next Teutopolis possession for a short kiss off the glass. Chelsey Hardiek finished the scoring in the second with her jumper from the free-throw line, and the Lady Shoes owned a 14-6 halftime lead.
"I'll tell you what," coach Laurie Thompson said, "I was most proud of our patience on offense. I wanted to get good looks and eliminate our turnovers."
Teutopolis did both, turning the ball over only five times, and just twice in the second half. Offensively, the Lady Shoes waited for their open shot against the 2-3 Greenville zone.
Cierra Thompson's baseline three-pointer opened up the scoring in the second half. Now ahead by eleven, Jessica Schumacher buried a midrange jumper, Hartke converted two free throws and Hannah Bueker scored on a nice assist from Cierra Thompson to make it a 23-6 ballgame. Cierra Thompson owned the third quarter, completing the Teutopolis scoring with a tough drive to the hoop. After three, the Lady Shoes were in the driver's seat leading 25-6.
"I thought all my girls did a super job," coach Laurie Thompson said. "We made some adjustment on the fly and were able to execute, that was huge."
After allowing no points in the third quarter, the six-point Greenville effort in the fourth seemed like quite the feat. But Teutopolis's win was never in doubt, as the Lady Shoes held on comfortably for the 23-point win.
"If we can play defense that way," coach Laurie Thompson said, "we're going to be successful."
Cierra Thompson scored a game-high 13 points for Teutopolis, while also holding Reinhard to just five. Hartke finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Shoes.
With the win, Teutopolis repeats as regional champs, and will not move on to sectional play at Marshall. The Lady Shoes will put their 24-6 record on the line on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against the host Lions.
"I always tell the girls that you don't take these for granted," coach Laurie Thompson said. "These are special."
Greenville 5 1 0 6 - 12
Teutopolis 8 6 11 10 - 35
Greenville- Reinhard 5, Alderman 2, Gatson 2, Schreiber 2, Funneman 1.
Teutopolis- Thompson 13, Hartke 11, Schumacher 5, Bueker 2, Hardick 2, Thoele 2.