How can a basketball team succeed when three players foul out and one opposing player goes for 30 points?
Pekin answered that question quite easily on Tuesday night. The Panthers used a 22-rebound edge to help build up as much as a 22-point lead against the Wayne Falcons Tuesday night on the way to a 71-60 win in Class 1A, District 10 semifinals.
Pekin never trailed in their 19th win of the season despite the heroics of Wayne senior Dillon Lain, who poured in a game-high 30 points. The Panthers also found a way to dominate the boards despite foul trouble eventually catching up to Brody Long, Jared Bond and Eric Adam – three of Pekin’s top four rebounders.
“We’ve got a pretty good bench and we had to go a bit deeper into it then we usually do,” senior Petie Clubb said. “The guys just came in and played the roles they were asked to play. Fundamentally, we played together pretty well throughout the game.”
Long and Bond were both able to corral big nights in the post before picking up their fifth fouls in the fourth quarter. Long led Pekin with his second straight postseason double-double, pulling in a game-high 14 rebounds while scoring a team-best 16 points.
Bond fell just short of the double-double mark, but had a stellar 10-point, eight-rebound effort. It all led to the Panthers doubling up Wayne on the boards with a 43-21 rebounding edge, including a 23-9 edge in offensive rebounds.
“We’ve been rebounding well all year,” Pekin head coach Ken Hutchinson said. “It really saved us in this game.”
Pekin’s ability to pound the boards early helped in establishing an early 12-4 edge against the Falcons. While Lain did his best to rally Wayne, scoring 14 points in the first half, the Panthers got a much more balanced effort with eight different players contributing to a 44-point first half.