There's a saying that if the fire doesn't kill you, the smoke will.
Eldorado found themselves in a barnburner with Teutopolis in Wednesday night's IHSA Class 2A Sectional Semifinal at Robinson High School and fought through the flames to have a chance with under a minute to go, but a pair of 3-point attempts by the Eagles didn't fall, as the Eagles fell to Teutopolis 56-52 to end their season at 29-3.
The Wooden Shoes (22-8) had a 41-37 lead going into the game's final eight minutes, but a 5-0 run to start the fourth, including a big three by Lee Hardiek had Eldorado in catchup mode to the end.
Eldorado didn't get a bucket until 4:45 when Jacob Traxler put one in to cut the deficit to 46-39 and then thanks in large part to four Teutopolis turnovers in the fourth, Eldorado was within three at 52-49 after Dawson Smith missed a pair of free throws with 58.6 to go.
On the ensuing possession, Braden Attebury had a look at three, but missed and Traxler's rebound and putback was too strong, leading to the Shoes going 4-for-6 from the free throw line to close out the game.
The 3-pointer by Hardiek, who had a team-high 21 points, was a momentum changer according to EHS head coach Josh Bradley.
"We had a possession where Attebury, Traxler and (John) Meredith all had a look inside, three guys had three chances in the paint. Say what you want, but to me I'll have to watch it on film, but it looked like all three guys had hands on them and were fouled and then Teutopolis goes down and knocks a three. There's your momentum. I think we had a chance to get it to within three or at least two with one of those layups or at least get a foul and go to the line. After they hit that three, it just seemed like we were never able to get any momentum back."
Attebury had 19 points for the Eagles and finishes with 1,247 points and closes out his illustrious career 11th on the school's all-time scoring list.
Traxler also had double figures for Eldorado with 11 points.
EHS jumped out to a 15-11 first quarter lead and T-Town went into the break up 25-23.
Eldorado's biggest lead in the first half was a running baseline floater by Joe Mayberry to start the second quarter and make it 17-11. Teutopolis grabbed a 18-17 lead with 4:50 to play, but EHS went on a 6-0 run to make it 23-18. The Shoes then took a 23-22 lead and closed out the first half up by three.
The two teams played through seven lead changes and four ties and finished the game with nine lead changes and six ties. Teutopolis took the last lead of the game at 4:43 in the third on another triple by Hardeik.
Bradley said there were no surprises thrown at his team, adding the two were mirror images of each other.
"We knew what they were going to be," Bradley said of Teutopolis. "They're a big team, they push the ball like we do and they like to pound the ball inside, play physical and rebound. We felt like they were mirror images of us and we knew whoever got the breaks were going to win the game and that's sort of what happened."
Ray May added eight points for Eldorado, while Meredith scored six points. Mayberry finished with four points and Lydayyea Shewmaker tossed in two.
It was another record setting season for Eldorado, one that saw the Eagles win the Eldorado Holiday Tournament for a second straight season and included another regional crown. At games end, Bradley said the most disappointing thing for him was having to say goodbye to seven seniors.
"I hate to see these guys go out. It's going to happen eventually and only one team can win. We had a lot things over the last two years kind of go our way, calls, balls that bounced our way and tonight a lot of those same things just didn't go our way. Some of the calls that we have got over the years inside, we didn't get tonight, the ball didn't bounce our direction and against a team as good as Teutopolis is, you need some of those breaks every now and then and we just didn't get them."
Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.
Teutopolis 56, Eldorado 52
Teutopolis 11 14 16 16 -- 56
Eldorado 15 08 14 15 -- 52
Teutopolis: Smith 1 8-12 10, Weber 5 4-7 14, Kremer 3 1-2 9, Addis 1 0-0 2, Hardeik 6 4-5 21, Funneman 0 0-0 0, Jansen 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 17-26 56.
Eldorado: Meredith 2 2-2 6, Oglesby 0 0-0 0, May 4 0-0 8, Attebury 8 1-1 19, Traxler 4 3-4 11, Mayberry 3 0-2 6, Shewmaker 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 6-9 52.
3-point FG: THS 6 (Hardeik 6, Kremer 2), EHS 2 (Attebury), Fouls: THS 14, EHS 23.