The Pekin Panther boys basketball team moved to 10-4 with a dominating 76-31 win over Louisa-Muscatine Friday night in Southeast Iowa SuperConference action at Pekin. The Panthers opened with 20 first-quarter points and really jumped on the visitors with a 30-point third quarter.
Brody Long scored a three-point play on a perfectly-executed out of bounds play to open the game and the Panthers led 3-0. The visitors scored four straight to lead 4-3, but it would be their final lead of the game.
Pekin used their full court pressure to set a tempo that the visitors had no chance of playing at. The pressure triggered an 11-0 run and the Panthers were up 14-4. Graham Wittrock had the quick start with seven points in the run. Coaches love those big men who run the floor. So, after the visitors closed to within five at 14-9, Jared Bond was rewarded for his hustle down the floor on the break. Two more Wittrock baskets made the score 20-9 after one.
At least two of his perimeter shots came after Cade Millikin, his backcourt running mate, found him wide open. The combination would again be big to open the second half.
“We used our pressure more tonight than normal because we believed we could really bother their guards,” said Pekin coach Ken Hutchinson.
The pressure continued to take its toll and the Panther lead grew to 24-9 just a minute into the second. Bond would have the big second for the Panthers with seven points. His final basket made the score 32-11 Pekin. It was another running big man score.
“We do a lot of running in practice so we’re expected to contribute on the break,” said Bond. “It helps for us to have a good group of post players - it keeps us fresh.”
With Pekin leading 33-11, L&M went on a 9-0 run to make the score 33-20. Millikin’s basket let Pekin lead 35-20 at the half.
Pekin outscored the visitors 30-4 after the break. Wittrock had another quick start with the first seven points in the third. “It’s just about staying in the game mentally when I’m on the bench,” said Wittrock.
In Wittrock’s opening burst, again Millikin found him wide open with cross court passes for a pair of 3s.
“This is really the first year that we’ve gotten to play together in the backcourt but I think our connection carries over from football,” said Wittrock. “I was the quarterback trying to find him.”
Wittrock would have 16 of his game-high 27 in the third.
“We do a pretty good job of playing inside out basketball and running the pick and roll,” added Hutchinson.
With the outcome already decided, it was just about finishing off the win.
L&M could add only five fourth quarter points so it didn’t matter that the Panthers only added 11. Bond’s final basket put the Panthers up 70-30 on the way to the 76-31 final.
Hutchinson and his Panthers will be on the road tonight at Mediapolis.
Pekin 76, L&M 31
L&M 9 13 4 5 — 31
Pekin 20 15 30 11 — 76
Louisa-Muscatine (31) — Daniel Ortiz 6, Collin Bieri 2, Jeshua Van Sickle 4, Blake Kemp 9, Austin Bohling 3, Kyler Bemis 1, Bradley Wachtel 4, Brandon Bieri 2 . Totals 12-50 5-20 31.
3-point goals — 2-9 (Ortiz 2). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — 34 (Logan Osborn 7). Assists — 4 (Van Sickle 2). Steals — 9 (Austin Bohling 3). Blocks — 3 (Collin Bieri, Van Sickle, Osborn). Total fouls — 15. Turnovers — 30.
Pekin (76) — Cole Reighard 1, Petie Clubb 3, Wittrock 27, Millikin 11, Christian Wittrock 5, Seth Jensen 9, Bond 13, Long 7. Totals 25-54 21-26 76.
3-point goals — 4-10 (Wittrock 3, Clubb). Fouled out — Jensen. Rebounds — 28 (Long 7). Assists — 13 (Millikin 8). Steals — 14 (Millikin 6). Blocks — 6 (Jensen 3). Total fouls — 14. Turnovers — 14.