Big second quarter fuels Lady Panthers

The Pekin girls basketball team traveled to face Louisa-Muscatine on November 21, in hopes of getting their season started off with a win. The girls were coming off a simulated scrimmage match against Fairfield, which they had won 72-53, in which Maci Gambell dropped 30 points. This time, the Lady Panthers had a more balanced scoring effort in a 57-24 win.

Pekin was able to get things going early with multiple contributions from its starters. The defense also got off to a hot start, only allowing two points for the first four minutes. While Pekin didn't shoot great in the first quarter, they still found themselves up 12-5. That's when things began to change.

Louisa-Muscatine made an early three in the following minute, closing the Pekin lead to four points. The Lady Panthers responded by continuing to score in all but one minute of the quarter, while not allowing LM to get another basket. At the half, Pekin had increased their lead 35-8, coming alive with a 23-point second quarter.

"We saw good improvement on the defensive side of the ball tonight," Lady Panther coach Davis Eidahl said. "We blocked them out well."

Pekin continued to lead a balanced scoring effort in the third quarter, protecting the large lead that LM was chipping away at. Though the defense allowed 10 points, double of what LM had in the first half, the offense still poured in 15 to win the quarter.

With the game in hand, some of the Pekin bench got some more quality minutes and experience in the final quarter. The Panthers were able to win the final quarter, despite putting up their fewest points in that span. The final score was 57-24, as the bigger difference on the night came at the defensive end of the floor.

"We cut down on some of our turnovers tonight," Eidahl said. "What we want to do this year is show improvement in every game, and that's what we accomplished."

Zoey Wright was the team's leading scorer, finishing up with 16 points, 12 coming from the first half. Maci had 13 points, five coming from free throws, and Faith Oostra also finished with 13 points. Maci continued to be a factor on the boards, racking up another nine, while Haley Gambell and Paige Winn had the second-most with four.

In addition to leading her team in scoring, Wright also recorded five steals, three assists and no fouls.

The Lady Panthers faced Cardinal on November 28, in hopes of continuing a promising start.