Durand’s Trenton Taylor puts up a shot over Pecatonica’s Korbin Gann during the first quarter of their game in Pecatonica on Friday, Feb. 11. Pecatonica won the game 76-37.

By Christopher Johnson

At the start of the week and with two games to go on the regular season schedule, the Pecatonica Indians boys basketball has guaranteed itself a first place finish this season.

With a mark of 9-1 at the start of play this week and holding a two game lead over both Orangeville and Lena-Winslow, Pecatonica will win the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference.

Victory over Freeport Aquin in the week’s opener on Monday, Feb. 14 would guarantee a solo finish for first in the NUIC.

Unfortunately, details of the Monday match at Freeport Aquin are unavailable in this week’s edition of the Gazette Newspaper.

When Aquin and Pecatonica met a little over a week ago, the Indians came away with the twelve-point win, 59-47.

Two days later, in the Thursday, Feb. 11 battle with the second-place Panthers, Pecatonica fell by two points, losing the game late and seeing its perfect NUIC mark issued its only loss.

Freeport Aquin sits in fourth place, with a shared three-loss conference record, but holds fast in fourth due to having played one game less on the conference calendar by the start of the final week of the 2021-2022 winter season.

On Friday night, Pecatonica played host to its closest conference rival, Durand and put things in perspective at the onset.

Led by six points by six foot three inch junior Korbin Gann, the Indians saw six players post their names on the first quarter scorecard.

Seniors Bo Seaton and Trent Hetland powered in five each with classmate Hunter Hoffman contributing four of his own. Senior guard Bryce Fitzanko and Cooper Hoffman tacked on three points each.

The visiting Bulldogs were held to 10 points in the period and quickly faced the reality that they were already out of the game, with just eight minutes of play recorded the Indians were up 16.

Durand did less damage in the second, offensively. The visitors pushed down nine points with four of five players on the court scoring in the frame.

Gann topped the charts with seven points in the second, nearly the amount scored by the northerly travelers.

Hunter Hoffman scored four more with two-of-four recorded from the line in the second.  Junior Briaun Green got time on the court and knocked down two-of-two with the clock stopped.

Hetland picked up two more to his final scorecard to round out the second quarter scoring. The Indians won the frame 15-9.

In the third quarter many of the starters for the host Indians were issued the stay order, allowing a few not so frequent players the chance to spend some quality time on the floor.

As a team the Indians knocked down 18 points in the third to hold the 59-31 edge with one session to go  to capture the NUIC Crown.

Six points were allowed in the final minutes of the final frame by the NUIC Champion in waiting.

Pecationica did not let up and cruised to a 17-point period, easily winning by the 76-37 margin and moving to 9-1 on the season.

On the ledger in the match to secure the NUIC Championship a reflection of twelve players names will appear for the victors.

Gann scored 17 to lead all players and received plenty of support. Seaton had nine followed by Hunter Hoffman with eight.

Hetland paced the way for the next group of scorers with seven. Green, Fitzanko and junior Will Howard tallied six each. Cooper Hoffman had five and was followed in scoring by sophomore guard Mason Peterson and his four-point contribution.

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