The Pekin Panthers and Cardinal Comets battled tooth and nail for 40 minutes before a winner could be determined. Pekin finally took control in the second overtime to down Cardinal, 97-90, in SEISC boys basketball action Thursday night in Eldon.
Any pro game that didn’t put up these numbers tonight, couldn’t hold a candle to the action in Eldon. The effort by all players were tremendous. The post players on both teams were a big part of that effort but the real story was the game between the backcourts.
Pekin coach Ken Hutchinson, said it best.
“This wasn’t about a team losing the lead or choking. Every time a team needed to be tough and make plays — it did”.
It was obvious from the start that the Pekin guards were going to attack the basket off the dribble. Graham Wittrock, Cade Millikin, and Petie Clubb combined for 15 of the 23 Panther points in the first.
“Their driving exposed our help defense some in the first quarter,” said Cardinal coach Jay Olson.
Seth Jensen scored the opening four points for Pekin and gave them a 4-2 lead that they maintained throughout the opening quarter. Millikin led the Panthers with six and Jonathan Pedersen had five to lead Cardinal and Pekin led 23-17 after one.
Pekin led 25-19 just one minute into the second but Charlie Rachford hit the first of his two 3s in the quarter to close the gap to three. The Panthers’ biggest lead was 44-29 but then game high scorer Dakota Showman got it going for the Comets. His five points in the final seconds of the half cut the Pekin lead to 44-35 at the break. Showman would have 32 points in the game.
Wittrock had two baskets and Jensen scored to up the Panther lead to 50-35 just two minutes into the second half. The Panthers had a lead in the double digit range for most of the quarter. Rachford’s late basket cut the Pekin lead to 59-50 after three.
The Comets opened the fourth with a 5-0 run. Baskets by Rachford and Showman cut the lead to 59-55. Millikin answered the run with a 3 and the Panthers went on to lead 67-55 at the midway point of the final quarter.
Showman added two 3s to cut the Pekin lead to 69-63. Petie Clubb went five of six at the line to keep Pekin up 75-71 with just 41 ticks left in the game.
Clubb, who hit 13 of 16 from the line in the game, talked about his role. “This is my first double figure game ever and I never have shot that many free throws before. I’m usually the guy that finds the open guy for a shot.”
Pedersen had seven points in the quarter for the Comets. Showman added 10 of his 32 and his basket tied it at 75 at the end of regulation.
“We used our pressure and hit some big shots to get back in it,” said Olson.
Hutchinson had this take on the Comet fourth. “In the first half, Cardinal’s guards penetrated to score. At the end, their quickness allowed them to kick it out and their guys knocked down some shots.”
Showman opened the first extra period with a 3 and the Comets led 78-75. A Rachford basket gave the Comets their biggest lead at 82-76 with two and a half minutes to play. Millikin brought Pekin back with two free throws and a 3 to cut the lead to 82-81.
“We did a good of working the ball and the posts set some good screens up high and I was able to get the shot,” said Millikin.
Cardinal went back up 84-83 after Showman scored but Wittrock answered with a 3 to give Pekin the lead at 86-84 with 23 seconds to play.
“We all look to get to the hole and that will open somebody up for the shot. I just happened to get a big one” said Wittrock.
Showman then drove the length of the court was fouled and hit both free throws to tie it at 86. The Panthers missed a late 3 to send it to the second overtime.
Millikin had two baskets to start the overtime and Pekin controlled the play throughout the second extra session. Two Clubb free throws put Pekin up 93-87 and he would add three more as the visitors closed out the 97-90 win.
The Pekin backcourt answered in unison when asked about how good this game was. “This game was awesome and it will be talked about for quite awhile”.
Pekin (4-3,3-3) will be on the road tonight at Highland. The (3-3,3-2) Comets will host Harmony tonight.
It’s a safe bet that neither game will match Thursday’s contest.
Pekin 97, Cardinal 90 2 OT.
PEK 23 21 15 16 11 11 — 97
CARD 17 18 15 25 11 4 — 90
Pekin (97) — Clubb 21, Wittrock 21, Millikin 25, Jensen 16, Brody Long 6, Jared Bond 6, Eric Adam 2 . Totals 31-71 30-42 97.
3-point goals — 5-16 (Wittrock 3, Millikin 2). Fouled out —Long . Rebounds — 44 (Jensen 13). Assists — 16 (Millikin 7). Steals — 13 (Clubb 5). Blocks — 4 (Jensen 2). Total fouls — 21. Turnovers — 16.
Cardinal (90) —Nathan Yeager 2, Kaleb Durflinger 5, Rachford 19, Showman 32, Cody Carter 5, Brandon Potts 6, Pedersen 18, Neil Urtado 3 . Totals 28-75 23-34 90.
3-point goals — 11-28 (Rachford 4, Showman 4, Carter, Potts, Pedersen). Fouled out —Rachford . Rebounds — 45 (Carter 8). Assists — 14 (Showman 6). Steals — 8 (Yeager 3). Blocks — 5 (Rachford 4). Total fouls — 27. Turnovers — 20.