GREENVILLE — A freshman who never scored a point until overtime Friday was a big reason that the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes are still alive in the Class 2A basketball playoffs.
Brett Mette converted a conventional three-point play with a layup and free throw late in overtime and added four points in the second OT as the Wooden Shoes knocked off defending state champ Central 58-53 in the Greenville Sectional championship game.
Central's season ends at 22-10 while Teutopolis (28-3), which beat the Cougars twice in three meetings this season, moves on to face Harrisburg at the Carbondale Super-Sectional on Tuesday.
Central's Greg Meyer, who sparked his team off the bench with a game-high 16 points, hit two free throws with 39 seconds left in the first overtime to put the Cougars on top 45-42.
But Mette drove the lane and hit a layup, only his second shot attempt of the night, and then sank a free throw with 27.9 seconds to tie it.
He went from zero to three points just like that, despite being surrounded by a standing-room only crowd of nearly 2,000 with his team's season on the line.
"That's probably the worst I've been shaking my whole life," said Mette, a 6-foot-4-inch freshman center. "I knew my teammates would get mad if I missed it. I was shaking real bad, but then I relaxed and calmed down and made the shot."
Central still had the ball and a chance to win it after calling time-out with 8.9 seconds left in OT. Jacob Timmermann drove the right side and instead of shooting, kicked it out to Luke Jackson.
Needing to hurry with time running out, Jackson pushed up an 18-footer that nearly sent everyone home. Instead it glanced off the rim and the teams battled through the two overtimes.
"Jacob's got to make that decision," Central coach Stan Eagleson said. "It's either him on the drive, or hitting Kyler (Scheer) slipping to the basket or throwing it back out to Luke.
"I thought he could have got there, I thought he had Kyler too. But you can't really argue with the shot that Luke had, I thought it was in from where I was -- even though it was kind of unorthodox."
Central guard Luis Perez helped get the game into overtime by nailing a 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining in regulation. T-town had a chance to win as well, but a 12-foot jumper by Devin Falbe was off the mark.
Teutopolis outscored Central 13-8 in the second overtime, with Mette again coming up big with four points. His shot put the Wooden Shoes up by five, but Central cut the lead to 52-50 on a 3 by Timmermann with 1:09 left.
The Wooden Shoes sank seven of eight free throws in the second OT to cash their ticket to the super-sectional. Teutopolis had just 13 field goals in six quarters of basketball, scoring a whopping 30 points at the foul line by sinking 30-of-41 free throws.
Central made 15 field goals and was 16-or-21 from the line.
Derek Smith led Teutopolis with 15 points while Cody Will added 12 and Kyle Pruemer had nine. After Meyer's 16 points, Timmermann was next for Central with 14. Perez and Scheer had nine apiece.
The Cougars' dream of a second straight trip to state is over, but they have posted one of the best runs in metro-east small-school history in the last five years.
It includes a 146-22 record since 2008, a 2A state championship and fourth-place finish, four sectional championships and five regional titles.
"We haven't lost this early for several years, so they're not used to it and they're really hurt right now," Eagleson said of his players. "When they look back ... to win 22 games, winning the regional that they won ... Mater Dei, Carlyle, Robinson and T-town, that's a murderer's row to try to get through.
"I don't know that there's many teams in the state that could get through those four teams."
It was a physical game from the outset as two teams that pride themselves on defense put their best work on display.
As a result there was plenty of contact and plenty of fouls. Austin Rickhoff and Justin Becker fouled out for Central and Teutopolis lost Jared Waldhoff.
The Wooden Shoes led 16-14 at halftime, scoring all six of their second-quarter points on free throws.
Central never really found a rhythm offensively, scratching and clawing to stick around. A late 3-pointer in the third quarter by T-town's Will sent the teams tied at 28 heading into the fourth quarter.
"Sometimes we're offensively challenged anyway and with the pressure that T-town puts on you, it just made it tough," Eagleson said. "That's the bottom line, we just didn't do enough things at the offensive end."