The young Pekin Panthers broke open a three-point game after three quarters and downed Louisa-Muscatine, 33-21, in Southeast Iowa SuperConference girls basketball action Friday night in Pekin. The Panthers led 17-14 after three, but continued to dominate the rebounding as they pulled away with 14 fourth-quarter points.
“This group of girls is really hard-working and they have a great attitude,” said Pekin coach Davis Eidahl. “It’s nice that they could pick up the win.”
Pekin jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a Gwynne Wright basket but the visitors would lead 5-3 after the first eight minutes.
Samantha Wright opened the second with her first of three 3s for a 6-5 Panther lead. Trailing 7-6, Gwynne Wright hit a 3 to give Pekin the lead for good. Samantha Wright hit her second 3 to close out the first half scoring with the Panthers up, 12-7.
Another factor in the turn-around for Pekin was the switch to a zone.
“We go zone based on the oponent,” said Eidahl. “The girls like playing it and I think it helps us rebound.”
The teams traded baskets to open the third but Samantha Wright banked in her third 3 from the wing and Pekin led 17-9.
“I think that part of what I have to do, to be a leader on this team, is to look for the 3,” she said.
The visitors scored the final five points in the third. Melanie Luttrull turned two steals into scores for four of the five points.
Pekin upped the lead to 20-14 at the midpoint of the final quarter. After a Falcon basket, Madelyn Baker’s three-point play pushed the lead back to 23-16 Pekin. Baker, who had been playing the middle of the Pekin offense against the L&M zone, had been used to reverse the ball — until her big drive down the lane.
“All of a sudden it was wide open so I took the drive to the basket,” said Baker.
Baker would again be involved in a big play by assisting on a lay-up by Beth Atwood. L&M scored five straight to cut the lead to 25-21 but then the Panthers hit would hit six of eight late foul shots to close out the victory.
“This group is learning how to finish games,” said Eidahl.
The win moves Pekin to 7-9 overall and 7-8 in the SEISC.
Pekin 33, Louisa-Muscatine 21
L&M 5 2 5 9 — 21
Pekin 2 10 7 14 — 33
Louisa-Muscatine (21) — Jodi Hartsock 9, Melanie Luttrull 6, Kelsey Chapman 2, Lauren Hargrove 2, Lexi Raimers 1, Kelsey Bemis 1. Totals 8 4-6 21.
3-point goals — 1 (Hartsock). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — 27 (Bemis 6). Assists — 4 (Alley Hammell 2). Steals — 13 (Luttrull 7). Blocks — 3 (Bemis 2). Total fouls — 19. Turnovers — 18.
Pekin (33) — Samantha Wright 9, Gwynne Wright 8, Madelyn Baker 8, Beth Atwood 5, Monica Cooley 3. Totals 10-21 9-16 33.
3-point goals — 4-8 (S.Wright 3, G.Wright). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — 34 (Baker 11). Assists — 5 (Baker 3). Steals — 8 (G.Wright 4). Blocks — 1 (Jessica Horras). Total fouls — 7. Turnovers — 16.