First it was a two-hour ride on a freezing cold school bus. Then it was the flu.

Off-court factors played roles in the Pekin girls basketball team’s last two games, losses Saturday to Davenport (Iowa) North in the Iowa-Illinois Shootout in Moline and Tuesday to Limestone in a Mid-Illini Conference game.

Davenport North defeated the Dragons 65-44. Limestone beat Pekin 49-42 in Bartonville.

“We had four girls out with the flu Monday. There were only five girls at practice,” said Pekin coach Becky Fulkerson.

Only Jenna Taphorn missed Tuesday’s game because of the flu, but the Dragons (7-12, 1-6) were not at full strength.

That was evident in the first half. Pekin trailed 31-17 at the break.

“We didn’t have a lot of energy, we couldn’t make shots, and we couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers we created,” Fulkerson said about Pekin’s first-half woes.

Pekin outscored Limestone 25-18 in the second half and cut the Rockets’ lead to 44-40 in the fourth quarter, “but we dug ourselves too big of a hole in the first half,” Fulkerson said.

Maddy Cash led the Dragons with 13 points and Taylor Goss had 12. Lauren Juergens had seven points, going 5-for-6 at the free throw line.

At one time, Goss was one of four freshmen on the floor for Pekin. The others were Tess Cascia, Natalie Righi and Lily Wagemann.

“Those four girls did a good job. They were competitive playing against juniors and seniors,” Fulkerson said. “Our future is bright.”

Madison Jernigan led Limestone (5-12, 2-5) past Pekin with 19 points and Lena Driscoll had 10. Jernigan scored 11 of the Rockets’ 16 points in the first quarter and the 5-foot-5 senior tossed in five 3-point shots in the game.

Steve Stein can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.