Teutopolis hasn't just poked the hornet's nest at Central High School. The Wooden Shoes have been doing all sorts of damage to the Cougars' athletic teams the past two seasons.
It began with a 58-53 double-overtime victory over Central at the Class 2A Greenville Sectional last season. T-town's boys team then knocked off Central again 45-44 in Breese on Dec. 6 despite trailing 20-8 early, riding a late game-winning shot from Reed Hardiek.
Central's 31-0 and second-ranked girls basketball team seemed to be riding a train straight through to the Class 2A state tournament, but was derailed by Teutopolis 49-44 last week in the super-sectional.
As soon as he knew the Cougars (22-8) would be facing Teutopolis at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 2A Vandalia Sectional, Central girls coach Nathan Rueter sent boys coach Jeremy Shubert a quick text.
"He said we owe them for three (losses)," Shubert said. "Last year they ended our season and our guys know that."
It could provide a little extra spark for Central, already coming off a wild 41-38 regional championship victory over Mater Dei.
"Our younger kids have really stepped up," said Shubert, pointing to Logan Kohrmann, Mitchel Rule and Jack Strieker.
Kohrmann hit some big shots during the second-half comeback and leads Central in scoring at 15.3 points per game. Senior guard Jacob Timmermann averages 14.5 points, but no other Cougar is above Rule's six per game.
It was Shubert's first regional title as a head coach and Central's sixth straight overall.
Teutopolis won its fifth straight regional Friday with a 47-36 victory over Casey-Westfield as 6-foot-5 Brett Mette led the way with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Teutopolis lost 53-43 to Mater Dei and 51-45 at the Nashville Invitational, also beating Freeburg there 53-47.
Hardiek is a capable scorer who fired in six 3-pointers in the first quarter of a game earlier this season. But Shubert is even more concerned with Mette because of his size and strength.
"He's 6-5 and can shoot away from the basket, plus he can penetrate a little bit and he's a good offensive rebounder," Shubert said.
Greenville will meet Carlinville in the other Vandalia Sectional semifinal game at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Nashville (22-7) is the other metro-east 2A hopeful and the Hornets take on Harrisburg at the Du Quoin Sectional at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Gibault High coach Dennis Rueter said the Hawks were prepared for any opponent even before Hardin Calhoun (18-8) stunned top-seeded Madison to win the Bunker Hill Regional.
Gibault (23-8) will face the Calhoun Warriors in a 7 p.m. semifinal game Tuesday at the Class 1A Okawville Sectional.
Calhoun sophomore Mitchell Bick had 19 points against Madison and 6-6 junior Gus Baalman had 14 as the Warriors claimed their first regional title since 1997.
Calhoun knocked off Carrollton in the semifinals.
"The 6-6 kid is the biggest problem for us because we don't have anybody like that," said Rueter, whose team was ranked 11th in the final 1A state poll. "They've beaten two pretty good teams so it wasn't just a one-time fluke."
Gibault built a big lead in the regional title game against top-seeded Okawville before holding on for a 51-45 victory.
"We shot it really well against New Athens and shot it really well in the first half against Okawville," Rueter said. "Then we dropped our guard a little bit and let them get on a roll, so that wasn't good. Hopefully that's a little bit of a wake-up call for us that we can't relax."
The Hawks' senior-led squad are pushing hard for a third straight state championship after winning state titles in baseball and soccer.
Many of the same faces are in the lineup led by Wes Degener (16.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game), Nick Row (13.4 ppg) and Mitch Meyer (9.2 ppg).
"We've got a lot of kids with experience in this postseason stuff," Rueter said. "We've got a lot less room for error than soccer and baseball had, but neither do we fear anybody."
Rueter said Gibault's tough schedule, which includes numerous 2A and 3A teams, should help out in the 1A playoffs.
"You hope so," he said. "We're not going to be in awe of anybody, but that doesn't mean you're going to win. It does help the situation and our schedule is a positive for us."
Ninth-ranked Springfield Lutheran (26-3) will tangle with North Greene (18-12) in the other sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday.