The St. Anthony Bulldogs came out strong on Monday night at St. Anthony High School, playing solid defense and earning an 8-6 lead against Teutopolis after one quarter.
But despite early foul trouble, the Wooden Shoes came alive in the second quarter, scoring 13 points to take a 19-14 halftime lead en route to a 42-23 win.
"We didn't come out ready to play and that's something you can't do," Teutopolis coach Laurie Thompson said. "St. Anthony came ready to play. We were fortunate to be ahead at halftime."
St. Anthony coach Bart Wiedman added that he was proud of his team's early effort after a subpar performance against Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City last week.
"Defensively, I thought we got back to some of the things we worked on," he said. "I thought we played a really good three quarters and played some good basketball overall."
In the second half, the Shoes started looking more like the state-ranked team they are. Madeline Hartke returned from foul trouble and scored 10 second-half points. She would finish with a game-high 13 points.
Jessica Schumacher and Danielle Repking were also back in the lineup after their first half foul problems, allowing Teutopolis to settle into a normal offensive rhythm.
"They came back in and, more than anything, settled things down," Thompson said. "Having the older girls back in there calmed everyone down."
But, Thompson added, the bench players a strong game, keeping the Shoes from falling apart in the first half.
All those girls came in and hit some shots," she said. "They stepped up and they played their role. Developing the bench is going to a key for success in the postseason."
The Teutopolis defense also stepped up in the second half, forcing the Bulldogs into nine turnovers in the third and fourth quarters.
"Our defense in the second half, once we all got on the same page, was the key," Thompson said.
Wiedman said that although his team turned the ball over 17 times Monday night, the Bulldogs are making progress in terms of ballhandling.
"The last three or four games, our turnovers have been way down," he said.
Teutopolis will try to learn from Monday's slow start in order to prevent that from happening in their game on Thursday against Taylorville.
St. Anthony, on the other hand, must regroup and prepare for Thursday's game against Oakland/Tri-County, another tough team.
"This is our hardest stretch of basketball," Wiedman said. "We've just got to get through it and find a way to shoot the basketball better."
Teutopolis 6 13 8 15 42
St. Anthony 8 6 4 5 23
Teutopolis: Hartke, M. 13 pts., Hartke, A. 7, Repking 6, Thompson 5, Schumacher 4, Hardiek 4, Gebben 3
St. Anthony: Walsh 7 pts., Bushur 6, Nuxoll 4, Richards 3, Wendt 2, Niebrugge 1