In a key Southeast Iowa Superconference double header Saturday night, the Pekin Panthers went to Hillcrest Union and swept IMS. In the girls game, IMS got out to a nice start, leading 13-9 after the first seven minutes. Pekin ended the first quarter on a 5-0 run to take a one point lead and IMS ended the frame with four straight turnovers. In the second quarter the Panthers stepped up the player to player defense and continued to pound the glass. Pekin finished the game with a plus nine rebounding advantage and held a 26-21 lead at the break. Following the game IMS girls Head Coach Aaron Gingerich talked about the importance of the boards in the game.
“We knew they’d be a physical team, and they’re physical and athletic. If you don’t take care of the details with rebounding and boxing out they’ll take advantage of it,” Gingerich said. “Every time we would get a stop, we couldn’t secure a rebound, and just kept giving up second chances. It felt like that is where a lot of their points came from.”
Pekin came out of the locker room dialed in from beyond the arc with Gwynne Wright hitting four second half three pointers as the Panthers extended their lead. Pekin would lead by as many as 19 before taking a 57-44 win. IMS was led by Olivia Yutzy’s 12 points, Riley Schmeider had 11 points and six boards. IMS is now 5-5 on the season.
The boys contest had a share of first place on the line and Pekin made plays down the stretch to take a 56-52 win. The game was tied at 11 after the first quarter when IMS went on a 13-0 run that ended with a Nick Yutzy three point play. The run was spurred by a change in defense by Iowa Mennonite. IMS dropped from man to man to an active 2-3 zone and employed full court pressure that turned the Panthers over. Using that run IMS led 30-23 at the half.
In the second half, Pekin began to find holes in the zone with good ball movement and crashed the boards. The Panthers held a plus eight rebounding advantage at halftime and that margin grew in the second half. Despite the Pekin run, IMS still led 42-38 going to the final period. The Panthers completed the run by grabbing a brief 45-44 with six minutes remaining. Iowa Mennonite responded with their own run of 6-0 to take a 50-45 lead with just over four minutes left. Down the stretch Pekin went back to their formula of working the dribble and the glass, a 9-2 Pekin run put the Panthers up 54-52 with 30 seconds left in the game. On their final possession IMS was unable to get their look to go. Pekin hit their two ensuing free throws to ice the game. IMS was led by Dallas Nye’s 16 points, Reggie Hostetler had 10. With the loss IMS is now tied for first place with Pekin in the SEISC and stands at 8-2 overall.