VANDALIA — Scott McElravy’s Fairfield Mules forced 10 Teutopolis turnovers in the first quarter and built a double digit lead in the first frame. It looked like their recipe for success all season could carry them to a sectional championship Friday; but then foul trouble in the second quarter, coupled with cold outside shooting after the quick start, and Chester Reeder’s Wooden Shoes pulled away to a 55-47 win in Vandalia.
After turning the ball over 10 times in the first quarter, Teutopolis had just nine more turnovers in the rest of the game. That was helped by Fairfield foul trouble in the second, where four of their regular eight-man rotation each had two fouls.
That allowed the Shoes to turn a 16-6 deficit at the first stop into just a two-point deficit at halftime, 22-20. The Shoes then exploded for 21 points in the third quarter, led by their two all-state caliber seniors, Dawson Smith and Clint Weber. Those two had 16 of the 21 points as Teutopolis took a 41-35 lead.
Fairfield got within four early in the fourth, and was able to hang around thanks to some missed free throws down the stretch by Teutopolis, but never got any closer.
Weber finished with 20 points, while Smith had 18 to lead Teutopolis. Fairfield got 15 points from junior guard Wyatt Gilbert and 12 from senior guard Jayzale O’Neal.
After hitting nine threes in the sectional semifinal, Fairfield hit just four Friday, including their first two of the game. They did not hit another until the end of the third.
The win gives the Shoes their sixth sectional championship in the last nine years. They will take a 29-5 record into the SIU-Carbondale Super-Sectional, where they will face Nashville on Tuesday.
Fairfield finished their season with a school-record 32 wins, against just three losses. They were attempting to advance to the Elite Eight for just the second time in school history.