Panthers get out quick in win over rival Savages

Pekin won the battle down low for much of the night against Sigourney when it came to rebounds and points, helping Pekin establish an early lead. Kennan Winn and Dayne Eckley combined for 28 of Pekin's 54 points and grabbed 19 of their 32 rebounds.

As of recent, the Sigourney Savages and Pekin Panthers were trending in opposite directions with the Savages going through a rough patch, while the Panthers have rattled off seven straight wins. Records aside, the matchup between the two schools is always regarded as one of the bigger non-conference games given the rivalry aspect. Pekin took a commanding lead early when they came up to Sigourney on January 14 and didn’t look back in a 54-33 win.

The Panthers started out quick and converted on several of their early baskets while the defense hounded the Savages and held them to three points in the quarter. After leading 18-3 at the conclusion of the first quarter, things started to even out from that point, as Pekin scored 10 more points compared to the six for Sigourney in the second quarter. The Panthers were able to turn some of the Savages stalled out possessions into points with their quick transition game. Even though Sigourney hung around in the second, the hole they were put in early had them going into the half trailing 28-9.

Dustin Haines was able to give Sigourney some life in the second half, getting open off ball-screens and converting on a couple open threes in the third quarter. Sigourney was able to keep up with, and even beat, the Panthers in the quarter by finding some more success in getting rebounds on the defensive end, limiting Pekin mostly to one-shot possessions. Sigourney scored 13 in the quarter while holding Pekin to 10 points, still trailing the Panthers 38-22.
Pekin responded with a bigger fourth just as Sigourney was about to close within single digits. Some inopportune turnovers for the home team added up late and Pekin was able to get the ball into their post players, who either scored or got fouled and sent to the line. Sigourney managed to score more in the fourth than they had in the entire first half, and made things interesting throughout the second half, but went out with a 54-33 defeat.

Read the full recap, including coach's comments, in this week's edition of the News-Review.