Ben Lampe has been involved in enough Mater Dei-Central games in various sports to realize what’s at stake. On that night, in that gym or on that field, there is nothing bigger than leaving with a victory.
Mater Dei claimed the latest round of one of the metro-east’s most fierce rivalries, posting a 47-40 victory Friday over the Cougars at the Nashville Invitational Tournament.
“It’s amazing,” said Lampe, a senior who had nine points while Zach Haake and Nolan Gerling had 10 each. “Most games you have a decent crowd, but you don’t feel the fans and in this game, the fans are always there. You feed off the fans and the bench gets into it, everyone gets into it.
“The excitement is always there.”
The win gave Mater Dei (14-7) a 2-1 mark at the tourney and a shot at sharing the championship with Teutopolis, which must beat Central at 6:30 p.m. Saturday to win the title outright. Mater Dei faces Nashville (19-2), also 2-1 at the NIT, in the tourney finale at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Mater Dei held off several second-half charges by Central (15-5), which got a game-high 21 points from junior guard Logan Kohrmann. Kohrmann hit his first six shots and had 16 points in the first half, but with Lampe hounding him in the second half managed just five in the final two quarters.
“The adjustment we had all game was we had to guard him — and we had to guard him well,” Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg said. “At halftime all we tried to do was keep somebody fresh on him. One guy stepped up and said I’ll take him and Ben Lampe said ‘I’ll guard him.’
“Ben did a phenomenal job of maintaining and not really letting him get going. (Kohrmann)’s an awesome player, I wish he was on my team.”
Trailing 25-20 late in the first half, Mater Dei gained control by going on a 13-0 run that lasted well into the third quarter. The Cougars, who did not shoot well in Thursday’s loss to Nashville, again struggled a bit from 3-point range (4-for-16).
Central got within 42-38 with 1:02 remaining on two free throws by Kohrmann, but the Knights pulled away after that.
A bigger concern for Central coach Jeremy Shubert was being outrebounded 14-1 by the Knights at the offensive end. Haake had 11 rebounds for the Knights.
“You can’t just point to one thing,” Shubert said. “You’ve got to point to the offensive boards, you’ve got to point to not covering shooters. If we want to win a regional, win our conference, we’re going to have to hit some shots.
“We gave up (14) offensive boards and you can’t give that team second-chance points.”
In the end it was Mater Dei’s better scoring balance winning out since the Knights had four players with either nine or 10 points. Central’s next-highest scorer at Kohrmann’s 21 points was Jack Strieker with seven.
Schadegg felt his team made nice progress from earlier in the week when they failed to hold off Teutopolis down the stretch in a 50-49 defeat.
“We learned that if you’ve got a lead, teams are going to have to apply some pressure and you’ve got to learn to handle that pressure,” he said. “I thought the kids did a good job tonight of valuing the basketball and not turning it over. “
A 3-pointer just ahead of the buzzer by Zack Deiters have Mater Dei an 11-8 lead after the first quarter.
Kohrmann was 6-for-6 from the floor and erupted for 12 of his 16 first-half points during the second quarter. That torrid stretch included back-to-back 3-pointers as Central’s lead reached 25-20 before Mater Dei closed out the half on a pair of 3-pointers by Haake to grab a 26-25 lead.
Teutopolis 58, Mascoutah 49: Teutopolis (18-2) had no easy trip to earning at least a share of the Nashville Invitational championship as the Wooden Shoes were pushed hard by the Mascoutah Indians much of the way.
Mascoutah’s Chris Simmons scored all 13 of his points in the second half, cutting the T-Town lead to 40-38 early in the fourth quarter. T-Town responded with a 10-2 run to create some breathing room, but a rare 4-point play by Simmons brought the Indians within six until the Wooden Shoes were able to clinch it down the stretch.
Tim Parks led Mascoutah with 16 points and Brian Pettiford added 11, while T-Town’s Brett Mette had 17 of his game-high 22 points in the first half.