PEKIN — The Pekin Panthers led for nearly the entire game, but had to hold off IMS in the final quarter to win the SEISC North girls' basketball game, 45-44, Friday night at Pekin. The win allowed the Panthers to sweep the visitors in the season series.
That win was followed up on Saturday with a 67-32 win over Sigourney in the battle of Skunk River rivals. Beth Atwood came up big for the Panthers on Saturday with a triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 steals.
The loss for the Savages was their second straight, one night after a 43-38 South Iowa Cedar League setback to Keota snapped a five-game winning streak for head coach Andy Harter’s squad.
Against IMS on Friday, Tiana Slaney and Atwood scored to put Pekin up 4-0 before the visitors came back to grab a brief 5-4 lead after a basket by Cassidy Bontrager. After Atwood scored again, the Panthers would lead until midway through the third.
Samantha Wright hit a 3-pointer before Atwood added a pair of free throws to put the Panthers up 11-7. Riley Schmieder’s basket tied it at 11 to end the first.
Pekin took control in the second eight minutes by outscoring IMS 18-8 to lead by 10 at the half. Atwood converted a three-point play to open the second and McKenna Gambell scored off the bench to give the Panthers a 16-11 lead. The two Panther post players led Pekin’s scoring for the game as Atwood scored 15 while Gambell scored 12.
The surprise was Gambell. She would have eight of her 12 points in the second quarter.
“This was my best game,” said Gambell. “Coach (Davis Eidahl) tells me to look to shoot coming off the bench and I know I have to use my size to rebound.”
“It really helps to have her contribute like she did,” added Eidahl.