Tigers fall short on the
road at Effingham, fall

 The Olney Tigers and

Effingham Flaming

Hearts squared off in a

battle of former Apollo

Conference foes.

Rob Flanagan returned

to the sidelines for the

Tigers while Ron Reid was

absent after retiring at the

end of the 2016-2017 season.

Rem Woodruff took

the helm for the Hearts as

the first year head coach

of Effingham.

Despite the coaching

change, the team remained

the same physical

and hard nosed Effingham

Flaming Hearts team that

the Tigers were so used to

seeing twice every year in

the Apollo Conference.

“Hard working Effingham

team like always,”

Flanagan said of battling

the Hearts in Effingham.

A hectic start to the

game as both teams

missed some early shots

around the rim and did

not look very effecient offensively.

Nearly two minutes

elapsed before the first

bucket was converted on

by sophomore Kaleb Foster

who socred his lone

basket with 6:05 to play in

the opening period to give

Olney a lead.

“We got the ball

knocked away from us in

the first half which let us

not be smooth offensively,”

said Flanagan about what

helped to the tough offensive

first half.

Effingham would find

their first hoop of the

game and the lid was lifted

off the basket for the

home team when Mason

Hull knocked down a

right wing triple to electrify

the home fans.

Brent Hatten would

momentarily silence the

crowd drawing a foul and

draining two free tosses to

return Olney ahead 4-3

with 4:26 to play in the


Just twelve seconds later

the Hearts had an answer

as Landon Wolfe

found his first hoop with a

three pointer from the top

to give Effingham a lead

that they would hold until

the fourth quarter.

“(Wofle) is a tremendous

player, he has to

score big for them,” Flanagan

said about Wolfe who

is a returning started of

the team from a season


Hull, a six-foot senior

had a solid game for the

red and white as well as

he found another bucket

off a fast break missed

layin for a basket.

Hatten would knock

down lone three of the

game to cut the game to

one with just under three

minutes remaining in the

quarter as the Tigers continued

to try to find some

kind of way to hang in the


Effingham had a hot

shooting quarter knocking

in five of their ten field

goals and three of their

four triples to close out

the period 13-9 in front of

the Tigers.

Hull found the net twice

and Wolfe once from distance

to try and force Olney

into some kind of different


The Hearts continued to

pressure the Tigers and

jumped out to a 20-11 lead

following a shot inside by

six-foot-eight junior Cole

Marxman with 6:15 to


The Tigers would adjust

throwing out a zone look

defensively and inserting

senior Connor Zuber into

the lineup.

“I thought Connor gave

us a spark,” said Flanagan

of his senior guard.

Following the Marxman

bucket, Olney went on a

12-3 run over three

minute span.

Brent Hatten knocked

down a pull up jumper

which was followed by a

bucket and a foul scored

by Dakotah Brown.

Brown converted the

three point play before

Mason Hull countered

with the lone three points

of the run for the Hearts

on his third trifecta of the


Zuber then drained a

triple at the 3:15 mark

from the top of the key to

cut the once nine point

gap down to a single


Effingham would close

the final three minutes

well however as Marxman

picked up a loose ball off

of a rebound and knock

down a shot to push the

gap back to three.

“The big six-foot-eight

kid inside was definitely a

presence,” Flanagan said

of Marxman and his

lenght inside. The junior

blocked three shots and

altered many more for the

Tigers while hauling in six

rebounds in the contets.

Wolfe would then close

the quarter strong as one

of the leaders for Effingham

by knocking down a

tough leaner with just

over a minute to play in

the half to push the lead

to five.

Brown would ansewr for

Olney by connecting on a

tough shot on the move.

The final possession of

the half is one that Olney

will definitely wish they

could have back.

Effingham’s Wolfe

missed a jumper and on

the rebound stickback by

Hagler rolled off the ball

was bouncing on the floor

and Wolfe scooped up the

bouncing ball and layed it

in to give Effingham a 29-

24 lead heading into the


“The play right before

the half, Wolfe comes

from the other side of the

free throw lane to pick up

a lose ball, that is the the

two. That is the two

points,” Flanagan said

about the play. The two

points would come back

to haunt the Tigers.

Effingham would utilize

the effort at the end of the

first half to bolster a good

start to the second and

put Olney in another hole

to that the Tigers would

have to try and dig theirselves

out from during the


The Hearts jumped

ahead by 11 points on a

few occasions in the early

going of the second half

while Olney began to start

to find some footing.

“In the second half I

thought we were much

better,” Flanagan said of

the Tiger offense which after

a struggling first couple

of minutes began to

catch some traction.

The Tigers played back

and forth with the Hearts

with the game around the

8 to 11 point range until a

defensive shift caused

some issiues for the Flaming


“We went to some 1-3-1

defensively,” said Flanagan

about the adjustments

made. “I think we went to

it at the right time.”

Olney would go on a run

after the midpoint of the

third quarter switch to the

zone defense and the

more aggressive play of

six-foot-three junior Brent


Hatten began utilizing

his driving ability and getting

the ball towards the

basket forcing the host

Hearts to fould the normally

solid shooter.

 “We got them to have

some misses, and we got

some stops out of the 1-3-

1,” said Flanagan about

the shift of the momentum

in the game. “I

thought Brent did a great

job of getting to the free

throw line in the second

half. I thought that was a

lot of growth for him as a


The adjustments saw

Olney trim an eleven

point deficit to four with

seconds to play in the


Hatten had a three ball

just roll out sending the

game to the fourth with

Effingham leading 43-39.

Olney would continue

to fight their way back and

the head coach for Olney

was pleased with the fight

his team showed.

“I am super proud of my

kids for coming back and

getting back into the

game,” Flanagan said

about the comeback from

eleven points down.

A limited scoring final

period saw Olney chip

away and take a lead with

2:42 to play in the game.

A bad pass by Effingham

turned the ball over

to the Tigers and Dakotah

Brown dropped in a three

from the right wing to

power Olney on top 46-

45, their first lead since 4-

3 in the first frame.

“Dakotah hit a big shot

to give us the lead,” said

the Olney coach of his

juniors three ball.

Ryan Sandifer answered

with a three of his own to

return the Hearts to the

advantage 48-46 just

twenty seconds later.

Sutton Dunn turned in

a solid performance after

a shaky start to the game

and knocked in bucket to

tie the game back with

two minutes to play.

“Sutton settled down a

little bit,” Flanagan said of

the junior. “He has got to

be the person around the

paint that we are able to

go to.”

Wolfe made a pair of

free throws which was anwered

by two of the Tigers

own from Hatten to keep

the game locked in a tie at

50 apiece with a minute


With time winding

down, Effingham went to

Mason Hull and the senior

drove left lane and hit

a tough runner with just

five seconds remaining to

give the Hearts the lead at


“(Hull) had a nice game

tonight,” said Flanagan

about the seniors 20 point


Olney had a chance and

got a good look off of a

Dakotah Brown drive and

kickout to Connor Zuber

whose three pointer just

missed as time expired.

The Hearts dropped the

Tigers 52-50 for Olney’s

second consecutive heartbreaking


“This is a relatively new

team and a young team, so

we will accentuate the

comeback and we will accentuate

the good things,”

Flanagan said about the

loss. “But at the end of the

day, nobody in that locker

room feels good.”


Scoring: Brent Hatten -

17, Dakotah Brown - 13,

Sutton Dunn - 12, Connor

Zuber - 6, Kaleb Foster -


Rebounds: Sutton Dunn

- 7, Dakotah Brown - 6,

Brent Hatten - 6, Kaleb

Foster - 5, Braden Flanagan

- 1, Connor Zuber - 1.

Assists: Brent Hatten -

4, Kaleb Foster - 2, Dakotah

Brown - 1, Sutton

Dunn - 1.

Blocks: Sutton Dunn - 1.

Steals: Dakotah Brown -

1, Sutton Dunn - 1.


Scoring: Landon Wolfe

- 21, Mason Hull - 20,

Cole Marxman - 6, Ryan

Sandifer - 5.

Rebounds: Mason Hull

- 10, Landon Wolfe - 6,

Cole Marxman - 6, Ryan

Sandifer - 2, Lucas Hagler

- 1.Assists: Mason Hull - 3,

Landon Wolfe - 2, Logan

Smith - 2, Ryan Sandifer -


Blocks: Cole Marxman -


Steals: Landon Wolfe -

2, Ryan Sandifer - 1, Lucas

Hagler - 1, Mason Hull - 1,

Cole Marxman - 1.


Olney (2-4, 0-1 LIC) will

now travel to face off

against the Red Hill

Salukis (3-3, 1-0 LIC).

“We will come in tomorrow

and start getting to

work on Red Hill,” said

Flanagan of the Salukis.

“You will see a different

Red Hill team on Friday.”

Red Hill is coming in off

a win by a point, 59-58,

over county rival

Lawrenceville last Friday

night and not playing this

week leading up to the

Little Illini Conference


“It is going to be really

hard for our kids this

weekend,” Flanagan said

about the upcoming weekend

of games. “It is a conference

game. If we want

to stay in the conference

race, we need to win.”

Flanagan also noted the

Red Hill has the same aspirations

in the LIC and

looks to improve their 1-0

mark in the league.

Red Hill will provide a

tough challenge as the

Tigers will look to take a

second game this season

from the Salukis on their

home floor. That will be

followed up by a matchup

with a talented Fairfield

Mules team on Saturday.