Central Cougars seniors and Logan Kohrmann and Chase Schneider got to know Teutopolis senior Brett Mette as a teammate last summer with the Team Spark basketball travel squad.
They renewed acquaintances twice during the regular season as the teams split two games — and now the trio will be together again Tuesday night for the Class 2A Super-Sectional at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s SIU Arena.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
“I’ve been seeing (Mette) for four years,” said Kohrmann, whose 29-4 team plays the Wooden Shoes once every season with an extra possibility of meeting again at the Nashville Invitational Tournament as they did in January. “Once he gets going he’s hard to stop in the post. If you put a smaller guy on him outside he can shoot the three as well as any of us.”
Teutopolis won the early meeting 42-38 on Dec. 4 at Central, with 13 points from Mitch Hardiek and 10 from Mette.
Central rode a red-hot second half to a 52-43 victory Jan. 23 at the Nashville Invitational, outscoring the Wooden Shoes 39-26 in the second half. The Cougars’ 23 points in the fourth quarter was more than they scored in the entire first half (13).
Both games were close in the fourth quarter. We could have been 0-2 in those games or 2-0 and same for them.
Teutopolis coach Jason Hanson
Schneider combined for 30 points and eight 3-pointers in the two games. Junior Jack Strieker was Central’s high scorer in the second meeting with 15 while Kohrmann and Schneider each had 14 points at the NIT.
“Both games were close in the fourth quarter,” T-Town coach Jason Hanson said. “We could have been 0-2 in those games or 2-0 and same for them. I’ve been really impressed with Central’s defense. They really do a nice job and held us on average in the two games about 15 points below our season average.”
Since the early 2000s, both teams have been among the top small-school programs in Southern Illinois.
“It’s been a good rivalry with two good program and both teams have had a lot of success,” Hanson said. “It’s probably fitting that we’re playing tomorrow night for a berth in the state tournament.”
This will be the third straight playoff game Central is meeting a team it has played earlier this season.
“We’ve met (Teutopolis) numerous times in the postseason,” said Central coach Jeremy Shubert, who has three players that are senior three-year starters. “It’s not a heated rivalry or anything like that, but it’s definitely a rivalry there.”
State rankings: Central was third in the final 2A state rankings; Teutopolis was sixth
Up next: The winner advances to the 2A state tournament and will play Pleasant Plains or St. Joseph-Ogden at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at Peoria.
Last super-sectional appearance: 2012 for Central; 2014 for Teutopolis.
Previous state tournament experience: Central won the 2012 Class 2A state title, finished fourth in 2010 and lost in the first round of the Class A state tourney in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Teutopolis won the 1986 Class A state title, finished second in 2000 and third in 2007. Wooden Shoes also lost in first round in 1994, 1998 and 2006.
The Shoes play an aggressive, physical style of pressure defense that has the ability to wear down opposing teams.
“They’re just tough and strong and they just play hard,” Kohrmann said. “You know what you’re going to get every time. They’re going to grind it out as hard as they can every game.
“They help off a lot (on defense), too. It’s tough to score on them.”
We’ve met (Teutopolis) numerous times in the postseason. It’s not a heated rivalry or anything like that, but it’s definitely a rivalry there.
Central coach Jeremy Shubert
Mette, a 6-foot-5 senior, is the top scorer at 14.5 points per game. Junior guard Mitch Hardiek (10.5 ppg) and 6-5 senior guard Devin Smith (9.5 ppg) also are capable scorers.
“They’re very physical, they play the passing lanes well,” Shubert said. “They want to try to turn you over and create transition baskets, that’s when I think they’re at their best. They don’t take too long to shoot it, either.”
Shubert said Mette has to be limited.
“We definitely have to control Mette and really all their inside guys,” Shubert said. “You start with Mette and we also have to make sure that we take care of the basketball because it’s going to be very physical.”
T-Town has done a better job than most of controlling Kohrmann, Central’s top scorer averaging 18 points per game with 50 3-pointers.
The Cougars also rely heavily on Strieker (8.8 ppg), Schneider (8.5 ppg, 67 3-pointers) and senior Kolby Schulte (6.8 ppg). Schulte and Mitchel Rule combined for 22 points and Kohrmann tossed in 23 himself Friday in the 73-59 sectional final win over Nashville.
“They’ve got several different guys that can score, which makes it so hard to stop Kohrmann,” Hanson said. “I feel pretty good job about the job we’ve done on Kohrmann, but they’ve got so many different options that it’s hard to stop them all.”
Shubert likes his seniors and believes they may determine whether the Cougars will be making hotel reservations in Peoria this weekend.
“The boys realize the opportunity that they have ahead of them and I know both teams are going to be ready to play,” Shubert said. “I’m glad I’ve got the seniors I do because it takes good seniors in the postseason that have been.”