The Chester Yellow Jackets went out in the first round of the 2021-22 regionals, but they played their hearts out and the game was down to the wire until the end.
Seeded 11th, and with Red Bud 10th, the teams were incredibly well-matched. In the regular season, the Yellow Jackets and Musketeers were 1-1.
The Jackets roared out to a commanding, 14-9 first quarter lead behind the hard play of CHS senior Jared Landeros, who hit nine of Chester's 14 points by hitting four 2-pointers and a trey.
Senior Cooper Eggemeyer and Davante Palacio added baskets and Eggemeyer rounded off the first quarter effort with a free throw.
Red Bud was led by Max Diewald who popped a three-pointer and a traditional basket for five of the Musketeers points. Nic Fehr, who led Red Bud in the game on Valentine's Day at Chester with 22 points, hit one bucket. Logan Cathell made 2-of-2 free throws in the opening quarter to round out the Musketeers' efforts.
In the second quarter it was Red Bud, 9 and Jared Landeros, 5. Landeros was the only Yellow Jacket to score in the second period.
At the 6:27 mark of the second quarter the score was still 14-9 in Chester's favor. Neither team had scored when Red Bud's Nic Fehr connected for a pretty 3-pointer. That brought the Musketeers within two points, 14-12.
With 6:08 remaining in the period, Chester's Landeros drove to the hoop for two points to extend Chester's lead to 16-12. The Musketeers turned the ball over on the ensuing possession at the 5:49 mark and Chester appeared to go into a stall for the next 90 seconds. When they did take a shot, the ball missed the target.
With 3:42 to play in the first quarter, Red Bud's Fehr made another basket to bring the Musketeers back within two points, 16-14.
At the 1:15 mark Chester's Jared Landeros and Red Bud's Devin Hall traded baskets and free throws to make the score, 19-17 in favor of Chester. The Jackets called time out with 36.4 to play.
After the time out Chester's Lucas Thompson missed a shot and Red Bud rebounded. With 3.2-seconds remaining, Red Bud's Owen Liefer was fouled and went to the line for two free shots. He missed the first and made the second. At halftime, Chester led by one point, 19-18.
For the first six minutes of the third quarter, Chester and Red Bud traded baskets. With 2:35 to play in the third, the score was tied 26-26 until Red Bud's Devin Hall hit a free throw to give the Musketeers a one-point lead, 27-26.
To close out the third period Red Bud shut out the Jackets, 6-0 to lead, 33-26, going into the final period. In the third quarter the Musketeers outscored CHS, 15-7. That period featured three lead changes and two ties.
Red Bud had the ball to begin the 4th quarter. Just 24 seconds into the period Owen Liefer committed a foul and gave the ball back to Chester. Kolton Jany scored for CHS to bring the Jackets within five points, 33-28.
The Musketeers turned the ball over on their next possession and at 6:26, Devin Hall fouled Jared Landeros who made his first free throw and missed the second. Red Bud led 33-29.
During the next 1:30 both teams traded turnovers and with 4:57 left in regulation play, Nic Fehr fouled Jared Landeros who made both free shots to bring the Yellow Jackets within two points, 33-31. Red Bud called a time out.
After the time out, Chester tied the game 33-33 and a minute later Chester's Cooper Eggemeyer took the lead for Chester with a free throw. It was Chester's first lead since the 2:59 mark of the third quarter.
With 2:31 remaining in regulation, Red Bud's Owen Liefer scored for the Musketeers to retake a brief lead, 35-34. Six seconds later CHS called a time out at 2:25. With 1:45 left to play Chester's Jared Landeros tied the game, 35-35 with a free throw. He missed his second attempt.
The Chester defense held Red Bud on its next possession and Jared Landeros retook a Yellow Jacket lead, 37-35 at the 1:13 mark. The Jackets held Red Bud scoreless until the 22.2-second mark when Devin Hall tied the game 37-37.
The Jackets could not answer the call in the final seconds of regulation and as the final buzzer sounded to end regulation play, the score remained locked, 37-37, forcing a 4:00 overtime. The 4th quarter had featured three ties and three lead changes to provide a great deal of excitement and frustration for both teams.
Chester won the jump ball to start the overtime period. For the first 42 seconds Chester worked the ball and Cooper Eggemeyer took the first shot of the overtime period. His shot missed the mark.
Just 16 seconds later, Chance Mott committed a foul and Red Bud's Logan Cathell went to the free-throw line and made both free throws to take the first lead of the period, 39-37.
A minute later Chester's Davante Palacio came off the bench and scored two points to tie the game, 39-39 at the 1:59 mark.
On Red Bud's ensuing possession, Nic Fehr drained a huge 3-pointer to retake the lead, 42-39 with just 1:47 to play in overtime. That three proved to be instrumental in Red Bud's victory.
A game-changing opportunity came to Chester with 1:14 remaining in the ballgame when Trace Fricke was fouled in the act of making a basket to bring the Jackets within one point, 42-41. Fricke was given a free throw to attempt to possibly complete a "three-point play" and tie the game. His free throw missed and with 1:14 to play, Chester still trailed 42-41.
Chester defended well for 20 seconds and with 54.2 seconds left to play, Chance Mott got his 4th foul of the game, sending Red Bud's Trent Sternberg to the free-throw line for two free throws.
Sternberg created "big time" suspense by missing his first free throw, but made the second to extend the Musketeer lead to two points, 43-41.
With just 54.2 seconds left to play, Chester had plenty of time on the clock to either tie the game with a two-pointer or win the game with a 3-pointer. Red Bud defended the Yellow Jackets well for 34 seconds, after which Chester Head Coach, Chris Toledo called a time out.
Chester still had 17.9 seconds on the clock to win the game, but failed to even get a last shot off. With 0.9 seconds left on the clock, the Jackets turned the ball over and had to foul. Red Bud prevailed and won a very close and well-played game, 43-41.
With the win, Red Bud advances to the Class 2A Regional Semi-Finals to face (2) Nashville at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
The Yellow Jacket season ended with winning records of 15-14 overall and 5-4 in the Cahokia Conference, Illinois Division.
In the loss, Chester was led by two players in double figures, Jared Landeros (18) and Cooper Eggemeyer (10). Other offensive contributors included Devante Palacio (5), Chance Mott (3), Kolton Jany (3), and Trace Fricke (2).
For the game, the Jackets hit 12 two-pointers and 3 three-pointers. They shot 57% (8 of 14) from the free-throw line.
Red Bud was also led by just two players in double figures, Nic Fehr (12) and Devin Hall (10). Other contributors were Logan Cathell (8), Max Diewald (7), Owen Liefer (5), and freshman Trent Sternberg (1).
The Musketeers made 11 two-pointers and 3 three-pointers. They earned 12 points from the free-throw line shooting 80% (12 of 15).