Taylorville Tornadoes get the better of Mt. Zion, 45-36
MT ZION — Mazie Fleming denies Mt Zion sophomore Jocelyn Turner access to the rim during Saturday’s conference battle. Fleming finished the afternoon with 6 points and 8 blocks.
Breeze-Courier Sports Editor
MT ZION — The red hot Taylorville girls basketball team traveled to Mt. Zion on Saturday, Jan. 28. Both teams came into the 2:30 p.m. match with a 6-2 Apollo conference record so this one had plenty of implications. The Tornadoes all stepped up in big ways making this one of the more competitive games of the season. They held on to secure the win overall, 45-36 the final.
The Taylorville vs Mt. Zion Apollo conference rivalry reached peak play for the 2022-’23 in any sports with both teams clawing and fighting for that end goal, victory. The increase in stakes meant an increase in defense and boy was this a defensive match.
“I thought defensively we did an excellent job.” Head Coach Hayden Eldred stated. “I was very proud with the way we played defense tonight. We kinda weren’t clicking and flowing very well in the first half on our offense but we definitely came alive in that second half. We settled in and I’m proud of them for that.”
The Tornadoes had several passing lane steals and blocks which helped aid their intimidation factor. Kyleigh Heimsness and Lia Champley were two of the players who saw their opportunity and took it. Sophomore Mazie Fleming protected the paint down low. She came away with 8 blocks and 6 points.
“She (Fleming) was fantastic!” said Eldred. “She works hard. She’s a shot blocker. This was a big game for her because this is a big team. For her to get those blocks against these girls is good to get her momentum going there. She did a great job defensively and took advantage of when we got the mismatches down low on offensive side.”
Speaking of the offensive side, Addison Tarr (18) and Aubrey Kietzman (11) took charge and lead the team in points. The sophomore/junior duo scored the majority of their total in the second half and walked away with a combined 29 points. Another junior, Olivia Woodward, was clutch exactly when she needed to be. She hit the final free throws of the game to put the Tornaodes out of arms reach of the Braves and finished with 6 points. Alyvia McCullough rounded out the scoring in the Saturday afternoon game. The senior hit a second quarter buzzer beater to keep the momentum still in the balance and finished with three points in the contest.
The Apollo conference girls basketball standings are reaching a conclusion. With only a few games left the next stretch could see a wild finish to the season.
“It’s not over just yet. We’ve gotta finish Mattoon and Mahomet-Seymour.” Eldred finishes confidently with a sneak peak into the next couple weeks. “We’d love to knock off Lincoln, not that that would get us anywhere else, but still we’ve got the potential to to so. We’ve got to play well, keep building here and again our end result is that Regional Championship and further. So we have to keep the momentum going.”
Taylorville (20-6) holds on in crunch time defeating the 17-7 Braves, 45-36. The girls will be back at home this Tuesday, Jan. 31 to host the Mattoon Greenwave (11-13). Tip-off for the conference matchup will be at 7:30 p.m.
MT ZION —Taylorville guard Aubrey Kietzman times the reach perfectly poking the ball free from Mt Zion possession. There were plenty of steals forced by the juniors hand and she put up double digit points, 11.
Lucas Domonousky / Breeze-Courier Photo