The quest for a state championship for the No. 4 Pekin Panther girls’ basketball team (24-1 overall) resumes this evening in Des Moines. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will hold quarterfinal games today at Wells Fargo Arena for the Class 1A and 2A brackets. The Panthers are slated to face the No. 5 Okoboji Warriors (23-1 overall) in their state opener.
A majority of Pekin’s scoring this season has come for four players who have scored over 200 points. They include senior Beth Atwood (461), sophomore Maci Gambell (384), senior Sloan Reighard (224), and senior Gwynne Wright (204). Atwood, Wright, and Gambell were recognized by the coaches of the Southeast Iowa Super Conference North with first team all conference honors. All 24 of the Panther’s wins have been by double digits. Their lone regular season loss came against the Class 1A No. 4 Burlington Notre Dame Nikes, 69-64, in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference shootout game February 6.
Okoboji’s road to the state tournament included 19 wins by 10 or more points. A trio of Warriors have scored over 250 points this season, including Megan Peschong (374), Molly Mitchell (263), and Emily Wintz (252). Mitchell (241) and Peschong (213) have grabbed over 200 rebounds in their final high school basketball season.
Tonight’s winner advances to Thursday’s semifinal round against the victor of Western Christian (22-2) and Central DeCatur (23-1 overall). Tip off of tonight’s Class 2A quarterfinal showdown between Pekin and Okoboji is set for 6:45 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.