Not once did Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg crack even the slightest smile Tuesday following his team’s 66-61 victory over Greenville at the Class 2A Wood River Sectional.
Despite the Knights’ first sectional win since 2001, Schadegg was in no mood to celebrate. Not with a chance for more playoff wins so close at hand.
“Nothing feels good right now to be honest with you,” said Schadegg, whose 22-10 squad got 24 points from senior Ben Lampe and had four players in double-figure scoring. “If we win Friday we’ll feel good for a little bit, but right now we’re geared up and going to attack the next opponent.
“We’re not satisfied at all. We talked about winning the regional and anything beyond that’s a plus. This is one plus, so anything beyond this will be another plus. By no means are we satisfied or content with where we’re at.”
Pinckneyville (24-6) takes on Roxana (15-15) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the other semifinal, with the winner meeting Mater Dei for the championship at 7 p.m. Friday
With Greenville (29-4) determined to keep 6-foot-8 Mater Dei senior center Nolan Gerling under control with double-teams and triple-teams, Lampe found plenty of room to roam. He had 12 of Mater Dei’s 29 points in the first half and finished the night 8-for-9 from the floor and 8-for-12 at the foul line.
“Nolan’s a great player and he’s always going to draw a lot of attention,” said Lampe, who repeatedly sliced his way to the basket by using his strength and quickness. “Tonight he drew more than others, they really packed it in on him. That left openings for other guys and I’m glad I could pick it up for him.”
Gerling had 14 points for Mater Dei while Zach Haake had 13 and Sam Toennies had an efficient 11. Will Schaufelberger and David Holden had 13 points each for the Comets and Austin Lawrence had 12.
Mater Dei led by as many as 11 points in the first half at 19-8 and 23-12. Greenville used a 7-0 run to climb back into it, but 12 points in the first half from Lampe helped Mater Dei secure a 29-22 halftime advantage.
The Comets missed nine of their 10 3-point field goal attempts in the opening half, but fired off runs of 7-0 and 9-2 to open the second half. They fought back to tie Mater Dei 31-31, but the Knights finished the third quarter on a 14-7 run to push their lead back to eight.
Mater Dei’s superior size and strength made a difference, as did Greenville’s 6-for-24 showing on its 3-point field goal attempts.
“In the end I felt their physicality, how strong they were, was the difference,” Greenville coach Todd Cantrill said. “The physicality finally got to us a little bit. We knew Lampe would cut, we knew he would be active. We tried to double(-team) too much, but you’ve got to take a chance at some point or otherwise Gerling’s going to go for 20 or 25.
“You’ve got to pick your poison ... we went zone and tried to do some things to slow them down and make him work for as many as he could.”
Down by 12 with 2:58 remaining, the Comets refused to go away quietly. Aided by numerous missed free throws by the Knights, who were 17-for-29 at the foul line in the fourth quarter, Greenville pushed back and cut the deficit to 64-61 with 11.7 seconds remaining on three frwee throws by Lawrence.
Mater Dei held on from there, but the missed free throws definitely had Schadegg’s attention.
“We’ve got to be a little bit more consistent down the stretch and make these free throws because they started fouling pretty early, about three to minutes to go,” he said. “We had a couple guys hit enough to keep us alive. We’re good, I guess.”
A tight end on the Mater Dei football team, Lampe enjoys the physical aspect of basketball as well. He never backs down from a chance to find contact, or initiate it.
“That’s always been the style I play, I like the run and jump game,” he said. “It’s just how I grew up as a player. I don’t like the half-court sets. There’s a lot more room to operate when it’s run and jump. It’s more my style.”
Class 1A Okawville Sectional
Carrollton 61, Metro-East Lutheran 52: Despite 20 points from Teddy Fifer and 14 more from Jason Johnson, Metro-East Lutheran (20-11) saw its season come to an end with a sectional semifinal loss to Carrollton (27-4). Cody Leonard had 17 points for Carrollton and Cole Brannan had 13.