Tornadoes fizzle in OT on Senior Night, 42-34
TAYLORVILLE — The lone upperclassman, Alyvia McCullough (right) poses next to Taylorville girls Head Coach, Hayden Eldred (left) on her Senior Night.
Breeze-Courier Sports Editor
TAYLORVILLE — Calling the Apollo conference match that took place on Friday, Feb 3 an “emotional rollercoaster” would be undercutting it. Taylorville hosted the Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs to a defense heavy game. The Senior Night contest featured a thick crowd presence, multiple momentum shifts and some of the most physical plays seen all year. However, Taylorville could not pull it off in and wained scoreless in overtime causing them to fall, 41-34 the final.
The main focal point of the night were the Taylorville High School seniors. Before the match started they honored all of the Jazz band senior members as well as varsity basketball team member, Alyvia McCullough.
“It was great!” McCullough. “Im glad we had a turn out for it. We normally don’t get that big of a crowd. Im really happy all my friends could come. The environment was great.”
Alyvia has been a crucial weapon this season and Head Coach Hayden Eldred can attest.
“She’s solid. She comes in and does her job.” He said. “She does a good job of taking care of the ball and her defense has really impressed me. With her size she really battles hard. There is never a lack of effort from her.”
There was no lack of effort from anyone on Friday night. Like Alyvia said the THS West Gym saw a sizable crowd and an electric atmosphere. Taylorville got off to a bumpy start in the first quarter with turnovers and empty possessions causing them to go down 12-4 early on.
However, the biggest moment in the opening quarter was the injury forced upon sophomore Addison Tarr. She went down hard on her left leg causing her to grip her knee in pain. She walked into the locker room under her own power and came back out after halftime. Tarr did not return.
“As far as I know she passed all the major tests there with our trainer.” Eldred states. “She’s gonna be a little banged up but I think she’s going to be alright.”
TAYLORVILLE — Lia Champley follows through on the shot which tied the ballgame at 26. She would finish with double digit points, 10, in the loss to the Bulldogs.
Lucas Domonousky / Breeze-Courier Photo
The second half saw a revitalized Tornado ball club. They went in down 21-16 but came out like they had something to prove, and they did. Taylorville allowed just 2 points in the third quarter giving them an opportunity to close the gap in the fourth.
Lia Champley hit a big corner three to tie things at 26. The sophomore shook the gym with the shot and finished with a team leading 10 points. Sophomore Mazie Fleming held down the paint getting 4 blocks and 6 points on the night. Juniors Aubrey Kietzman (7) and Olivia Woodward (6) both had big shots of their own which allowed them to combine for 13 points in the contest. Kyleigh Heimsness, the sophomore, rounded out the teams scoring with 5.
Needless to say the Tornadoes were rolling but Mahomet-Seymore is always going to compete. Bulldog’s leading scorer, Savannah Orgeron, was fouled on a made lay up to tie the game. She missed the shot which would have put Mahomet-Seymour up by one. As the final buzzer sounded the score was deadlocked at 33. Oregon finished with 23 points total.
The Tornadoes failed to get anything going in the overtime period opening with four failed possessions. Where they struggled their opponent had no problem. The Bulldogs quickly pulled away taking the match by a final score of 42-34.
“They were ready to go. Very positive in the locker room during halftime. Down five we weren’t really playing too well so we felt like we were in a good position to go into that second half. There spirits were already positive. I didn’t have to do much.”
“We had a lot of obstacles to try to overcome there.” Hayden Eldred said post game. “We did a great job at putting ourselves in position to come out on top but we didn’t.”
The Tornadoes (21-7) will shrug off the Apollo Conference loss and get right back to it. They travel to Mt. Vernon on Saturday, Feb. 4 to take on the Rams. Their final game of the regular season will be against the Railsplitters in Lincoln. The big conference game will be on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
TAYLORVILLE — THS sophomore Kyleigh Heimsness hops up to block the Mahomet-Seymour fader. Heimsness finished with 5 points in the Friday night contest.
Lucas Domonousky / Breeze-Courier Photo