In a pair of key Southeast Iowa Super Conference clashes Friday night at Pekin, the Panthers recorded two close wins over visiting IMS. The girls game was a series of punches and counterpunches, as each squad put together prolonged runs. Pekin built an 11-7 lead late in the first quarter before IMS scored back to back baskets to tie things at 11 at the end of the frame. In the second quarter the Panthers went on another run, aided by a five minute scoring drought from IMS to take a 29-19 lead into the break.
IMS got back in it, starting the half on a 13-2 run behind hot three point shooting from Hannah Miller and Kristin Davis, taking a 32-31 lead. Following the game Head Coach Aaron Gingerich talked about his team’s second half run.
“I thought we really handled the ball well, we got some looks that just weren’t going in, but it felt like we were playing well,” Gingerich said. “Then in the second half, I thought we took off a little, and Hannah once again got us going with a couple of three back-to-back, and all of a sudden the lead went from 10 to six, and we were right there.”
The see-saw then tiltled back to Pekin as the Panthers wrestled the lead back, taking a 40-34 advantage into the fourth quarter. Things stayed tight down the stretch but IMS couldn’t put together that one run to take the game. Iowa Mennonite had two chances to pull close with under a minute to play trailing 47-43 but jumpshots from Miller and Davis wouldn’t fall. Riley Schmeider hit a three as time expired to make the final score 47-46. IMS was led by 13 from Schmeider, Miller ended with 11 and Olivia Yutzy added 10. IMS is now 10-8 overall.
The boys contest was for sole possession of first place in the SEISC North Division and Pekin completed the season sweep of IMS with a 59-56 win. The Panthers went to work on the inside with
strong, physical play, running out to a lead of 13 points midway through the second quarter. IMS fought back behind outside shooting from Eli Gingerich to pull within 33-29 at the break. The Panthers came out of the locker room hot again focusing on points in the paint and stretched the lead out to double figures.
IMS answered the call infront of a packed house with a key 15-2 run, including three, three pointers in a row between Nick Yutzy and Kirby Shetler. Following the game Head Coach Dwight Gingerich talked about his guys stepping up in a big spot.
“The second half we did a lot better job of kind of timing things on defense, we did a better job on the boards, and we had a great flurry; in the first half Eli hit a couple of big shots for us, and in the second half it was Kirby Shetler knocking down two big threes that gave us the lead,” Gingerich said.
The run propelled IMS into the lead for the first time all night at 49-43 going to the final quarter. Pekin responded with an 8-0, aided by IMS turnovers and several three point play opportunities. Down the stretch it turned into a free throw contest but the Panthers couldn’t hit enough to completely close the door on IMS. Trailing 57-52 with under a minute left Yutzy hit a big three from the wing to make it a one possession game. Following a one of two trip at the line for Pekin, IMS came down the floor with the ball and a chance to tie. A Gingerich three pointer with five seconds left was no good, Reggie Hostetler nabbed the offensive rebound, retreated behind the three point line and was fouled in the act of shooting with no time on the clock. Hostetler stepped to the line by himself with a chance to tie the game but his first attempt rimmed out.
In the game IMS was led by 16 points from Gingerich, and Dallas Nye had 11. With the loss IMS is now 13-3 overall.