The Pekin boys and girls basketball teams each breezed to a non-conference win earlier this week.
The boys team beat host Macomb 56-36 Tuesday night and the girls team beat visiting Chillicothe IVC 47-23 Wednesday night in Hawkins Gym.
“We played well defensively from start to finish,” Pekin boys team coach Jeff Walraven said about the win over Macomb.
“We were able to find their better players while we were in our zone defense,” Walraven added. “We’d only seen a couple of Macomb’s game films, so our guys did a good job.”
Offensively, the Dragons (8-10) took advantage of Macomb’s focus on Patrick Torrey. Pekin’s 6-foot-7 senior center was limited to three points on 3-of-4 free throws.
“Patrick had only four or five shot attempts. On most of his touches, he needed to kick it out,” Walraven said.
Pekin made Macomb pay for its emphasis on Torrey, draining 11 triples.
The Dragons’ Adam Cash had five 3-pointers en route to a 17-point night. Brady Grashoff (12 points) and Max Jones each had two triples and Tyler Durr and Justin Taphorn each had one.
Nobody from Macomb scored in double figures, although the Bombers did have six 3-pointers. Cam Schultze led Macomb with eight points.
The Bombers never got to the free throw line. Pekin wasn’t there very often, going 5-for-8.
Pekin led 27-16 at halftime and expanded its advantage to 42-22 after three quarters.
The Dragons are scheduled to face Limestone at home Saturday night to complete the first half of their Mid-Illini Conference schedule. Weather-permitting, of course.
If Pekin can beat Limestone, it will be 5-2 in the conference with losses only to front-runners Morton and Metamora.
The Dragons’ non-conference game this past Saturday against Peoria Richwoods (12-5) in Hawkins Gym was postponed because of the snowstorm.
It isn’t known if the game will be rescheduled. Pekin and Richwoods met during the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, with Richwoods winning 68-54 in the consolation championship game.
As for the Pekin girls team, all 10 players got into the game against IVC (1-17) and nine scored led by Taylor Goss with 14 points and Gracie Kizer with eight.
Plus, the Dragons (4-16) had an opportunity to try out a 1-2-2 ball press for the first time in a game.
“We went to it early and got some turnovers from it,” said Pekin coach Brett McGinnis.
Pekin’s reserves got plenty of playing time against IVC. No starter played in the fourth quarter.
The Dragons led 26-6 at halftime and 40-12 after three quarters.
Katie Tiller had seven points for the Grey Ghosts, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter after getting 12 points through the first three quarters.
In an unusual schedule twist, Pekin will face Mid-Illini rival Metamora at home Friday night after losing to the Redbirds 51-39 just two weeks earlier at Metamora.
McGinnis is looking forward to the rematch, even though Metamora (14-5, 4-3) is one of the best teams in the conference not named Morton.
“For whatever reason, our girls were fired up to play Metamora,” he said. “It was our best game of the season as far as effort and execution, things we can control.”
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.