PEKIN — Brody Long certainly made an impact on the opening postseason game for the Pekin boys basketball team on Thursday.
Twenty-eight points and 15 rebounds worth of impact, in fact.
For Long, however, the two points that made the biggest impression on him were two put in by cousin Keaton Winn. Of the 10 points that the Panther sophomore scored on Thursday night against Seymour, no two stood out more than the two that were produced on a thunderous break away slam dunk.
It was by far the highlight of an overall dominant night on the hardwood for Pekin, which picked up an 88-31 in the second round of Class 1A, District 10 play against the Warriors.
“That was pretty intense,” Long said of Winn’s slam. “I feel pretty good for him. We dunk a lot during practice, so I know he can do it. That was rare, but awesome.”
Long got his night off to a great start, scoring on a feed right to the post right off the night’s opening tip-off while being fouled. The game-opening three-point play got the Panthers on the road to their 18th win of the season as Pekin scored the first seven points and put 29 on the board by the end of the first quarter.
“We fed the post a lot. That’s really all it was that worked for us. Making that first basket right off the bat didn’t hurt,” Long said. “Jared (Bond) fed me four or five times, which usually doesn’t happen. I just felt good and I was making shots, so we figured why change anything.”
Coming off two-straight wins over Bluegrass rival Melcher-Dallas, including a win at the end of the regular season that ended on a last-second basket and a tight five-point postseason win over the Saints on Monday, Seymour could not match up with the physically dominant Panthers. Warrior co-head coach Jeff Johnston talked about the problems in the post that Pekin presented throughout the contest, which led to Seymour grabbing just five rebounds all night.
“(Pekin) was very aggressive around the basket. Their muscle was a big factor as well,” Johnston said. “That was probably the biggest factor that worked against us.”
Long was joined in double figures by Bond, who had 17 points and four rebounds. While the Panther big men may not always have the height advantage, their overall strength that was forged over the fall on the football gridiron has proven to be very beneficial this winter on the hardwood.
“As we came into this season, we still had the mindset of football going. We just had to adapt that to basketball,” Long said. “It really helps be able to win physical battles near the basket.”
Of course, having players that can jump out of the gym the way Winn did certainly doesn’t hurt.
“Keaton has those long arms, so it’s not a problem for him to get to the rim anyway,” Long said of Winn. “When he got that steal and break away (on Thursday), you see him getting his steps down. That wasn’t just an attempt to dunk. He wanted to rip down the rim on that one.”
Sophomore Nick Howell led Seymour with 12 points. The Warriors finished a 4-17 season that featured a lot of transition within a team that had nine underclassmen and two head coaches in Johnston and Shaun Houser.
“Shaun and I are good friends. We talked before the year and realized we had the same philosophies.” Johnston said after completing his first year as a co-head coach. “For our first year coaching, the kids really seemed to pick up a lot from both of us.”
Pekin, meanwhile, will continue an incredibly successful season on Tuesday. The Southeast Iowa Superconference north champs will take an 18-3 record into the district semifinals to face wither Wayne or Moulton-Udell at Lakeview Gymnasium in Centerville at 8 p.m.
“We’ve got five seniors on this team that have all played together since we were in second grade,” Long said. “It feels natural right now. We have great chemistry out there.”
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Class 1A, District 10 Second Round
PEKIN 88, SEYMOUR 31
Seymour 7 10 6 8 — 31
Pekin 29 24 16 19 — 88
Seymour (31) — Nick Howell 12, Justin Jewett 6, Luke Merritt 4, Shelby Dooley 2, Marshall Goff 2, Dalton Johnson 2, Jace Poole 2, Milar Bland 1. Totals 7-33 15-28 31.
3-point goals — 2-6 (Jewett 2-3, Howell 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Merritt 0-1). Rebounds — 5 (Joshua Brown, Goff, Howell, Merritt, Poole). Assists — 5 (Howell 2, Anthony Furlin, Johnson, Merritt). Steals — 4 (Poole 2, Howell, Johnson). Blocks — 0. Total fouls — 11. Turnovers — 17.
Pekin (88) — Brody Long 28, Jared Bond 17, Keaton Winn 10, Eric Adam 9, Cade Millikin 7, Cole Reighard 6, Kyle Miller 5, Ryan Swanson 4, Christian Wittrock 2. Totals 37-54 12-14 88.
3-point goals — 2-5 (Millikin 1-1, Adam 1-2, Petie Clubb 0-1, Swanson 0-1). Fouled out — Clubb. Rebounds — 31 (Long 15, Bond 4, Miller 3, Millikin 3, Winn 3, Adam, Reighard, Swanson). Assists — 18 (Millikin 5, Clubb 4, Bond 2, Swanson 2, Adam, Long, Reighard, Winn, Wittrock). Steals — 9 (Reighard 3, Millikin 2, Winn 2, Adam, Wittrock). Blocks — 2 (Long 2). Total fouls — 21. Turnovers — 4.