SALEM — The Central Cougars' season got derailed one stop short of the state tournament.
Madeline Hartkey scored 20 points as the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes shocked the No. 2-ranked Cougars 49-44 Monday in the Class 2A Salem Girls Basketball Super-Sectional.
The Cougars ended their season at 31-1.
"It's been a great year," Central coach Nathan Rueter said. "It's tough to see us go down like this. Teutopolis has a great team."
The Cougars were forced to play catch-up most of the game after falling behind 13-3 in the first quarter. They held the lead for only 17 seconds in the second half.
"We had the momentum for like three seconds," Rueter said. "We got ourselves in the big hole. I thought we played great in the second half. The physicality of the game hurt us. They pushed us around, and we didn't respond to it. It is what it is. They were the better team tonight."
The Cougars were led by Torre Kohrmann with 14 points, Kendra Wilken with 10 points and seven rebounds and Maddie Timmermann and Taylor Rakers each with seven points.
The Wooden Shoes also got 12 points from Cierra Thompson and seven points and six rebounds from Anna Hartke.
The Cougars beat the Wooden Shoes 51-35 on Jan. 11 in T-Town, but this time the Wooden Shoes turned the tables.
"We definitely improved a lot from our regular season (game)," Madeline Hartkey said. "I think we deserved to be here. We worked our butt off for this win."
The Wooden Shoes (28-5) advance to play the No. 1-ranked St. Thomas More Sabres (31-2) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Redbird Arena in Normal in the semifinal round of the Class 2A State Tournament.
The Sabres beat Riverton 74-35 Monday in the Decatur Super-Sectional at Millikin University.
Wilken scored inside to give the Cougars a quick 2-0 lead, but the Wooden Shoes connected on seven of their 10 shots in the opening quarter to roll ahead 15-5.
Madeline Hartke keyed the first-quarter surge with 10 points.
"We had more of a defensive plan than an offensive plan," Madeline Hartke said. "On offense, we just wanted to play our game, play our tempo of the game, and do what we needed to do. Look at drive, of course, and get them in foul trouble."
Wilken picked up her second foul at the midway point of the first quarter, and she spent the rest of the period on the bench.
"We didn't have our rim protector on the floor because she picked up two fouls in the first (four) minutes and (Hartke) just had her way with us. We talked about a lot of things, and I guess I just didn't do a good enough job of reinforcing some of the stuff that we tried to reinforce. We didn't have an answer."
Rakers and Thompson traded 3-pointers at the start of the second quarter, and then Thompson and Sophie Rickhoff traded 3-pointers as the Cougars couldn't make up the lost ground.
A three-point play by Kohrmann cut her team's deficit to 25-18, but Danielle Repking scored from the wing with five seconds on the clock to give the Wooden Shoes a 27-18 advantage at halftime.
Rakers hit another 3-pointer at the start of the second half and the Cougars eventually fought back to take a 33-31 lead on a three-point play by Timmermann with 2:02 left in the third quarter.
T-Town's Anna Hartke scored the next five points on two free throws and a three-point play off a rebound basket to put the Wooden Shoes back in front 38-33.
After a basket by Timmermann with three seconds left in the third quarter, the Wooden Shoes took a 38-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Cougars got within three points on a layup by Timmermann with 4:37 to go and again on a layup by Kohrmann off an inbounds pass with 2:02 to go.
Madeline Hartke sank two free throws with 54 seconds on the clock to give the Wooden Shoes a five-point edge.
After Kohrmann sank two free throws with 41 seconds left to once again cut the lead to three points, Jessica Schumacher sank two free throws with 35 seconds left to keep a five-point cushion.
The Wooden Shoes stole the ball on the ensuing inbounds, and Thompson made a free throw to put her team up 47-41 with 32 seconds remaining.
A 3-pointer by Kohrmann drew the Cougars within 47-44 with 10 seconds on the clock.
Madeline Hartke clinched the win with two free throws with 8.9 seconds left.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.