PEKIN — Following Friday night's 49-43 victory over Mediapolis, defending Southeast Iowa Superconference north division champion Pekin hosted Cardinal from the south division in a cross-division game.
"The coaching staff kept telling us that we need to keep our emotions in check," stated Pekin senior Brady Millikin, "We did a pretty good job of it. We also kept our intensity level strong from the tip off to the final buzzer."
The Panther offense came out roaring in the first quarter of play of a 72-47 win against the visiting Comets. Post player Cale Lyle hit a free throw just 10 seconds into the contest to start the offensive engine.
Following a lay-up by the Cardinal post player, Elias Elammari, Brock Long would take over for the Pekin squad hitting on two long 3-point attempts, then followed with a tip in. Long wasn't done, however, as he stole the ball, hit a lay-up while being fouled and converted the free throw for 11 consecutive Panther points to put Pekin up 13-2 with 4:30 gone in the game.
Charles Stull also added a 3-pointer for the Panthers as part of the team's 25-point first quarter scoring barrage.
Brock Long wasn't done as Pekin opened the second period. Hitting on a lay-up from a lob pass, Long followed with a drive off the right side for two points then added a 3-pointer from the left wing as he hit 18 points in the first half on his way to a game-high 21 for the night.
Pekin's man defense continued to thwart the Comet offense, holding them to nine points in the quarter. Luke Long hit five points for Cardinal in the period, including a 3-pointer midway through the quarter.
Pekin would take a 41-25 halftime lead to the locker room.
The second half opened with Brayden Soboski hitting two free throws. Stull and Milliken each hit 3-pointers for the Panthers in the third period as they closed out the quarter with a solid 57-41 lead.
Pekin put the finishing touches on the contest during the final frame, as five Panthers scored. Brock Long concluded the scoring hitting a 3-point goal in the final ten seconds of play. The Panthers finished with seven 3-point goals from beyond the arc.
Brock Long led Pekin in scoring with 21, while Millikin added 15 points. Lyle hit for 13 points for the Panthers.
Millikin led the team in rebounds with 10, followed by Soboski, who had 15 points and 10 boards the previous night against Mediapolis, with eight rebounds against the Comets. Lyle collected seven rebounds for Pekin in Saturday's win.
Cardinal was led in scoring by Elammari with 12 points, followed by Griffin Greiner with 11. Blaine Bryant led the Comets in rebounding with seven.
The Panthers (12-1, 9-1) travel to Wapello to take on the conference leaders next Tuesday. Pekin can not only avenge its only loss of the season, but regain the SEISC north lead with the victory.
"We lost a close game, but Brady was out when we played them," surmised Pekin head coach John Swanson. "There is a big gap in the conference standing after Wapello and us."
Cardinal (6-5, 4-5 SEI south) heads to New London on Tuesday.
Teams 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Cardinal 16 9 16 6 47
Pekin 25 16 16 15 72