By Trenten Scheidegger

The day after Christmas, the Pecatonica Indians were set to face off with the Lena-Winslow Panthers as part of the Forreston Holiday Tournament.  While the Indians came in as a perfect 7-0, the Panthers held a record of 6-1.  It was a highly anticipated matchup for the holiday tournament.

The Indians were boosted by an explosive first quarter.  Korbin Gann hit a pair of early three-pointers that gave Pecatonica the momentum to start.  Jaxon Diedrich put up eight first quarter points of his own.  Cooper Hoffman added four first quarter points, including a successful and-one opportunity. The early offensive performance allowed the Indians to take an 18-8 lead into the second.

Diedrich remained consistent with another six points in the second quarter.  Hoffman added another four as the Indians tried to expand their lead.  Le-Win had other plans, however, as they swung the momentum.

The Panthers caught fire from deep as they sunk five three-pointers in the second quarter alone, three of which came from one player.  All in all, Le-Win put up 21 points in the quarter, getting themselves right back into the game.  Eventually, Pecatonica would take a 31-29 lead into the halftime break.

The Indians’ defense tried to slow the three-point barrage in the second half, but Le-Win continued to find success.  The Panthers hit another pair of threes in the third on their way to 10 points in the quarter.  Pecatonica was resilient, however.  Mason Peterson hit a pair of three-pointers of his own.  Hoffman, Diedrich, and Green each added baskets as they outscored the Panthers 14-10.  The Indians would take a 45-39 lead into the final quarter.

The Panthers, once again, hoped to swing the momentum in the closing quarter of the half.  They continued to rely on the three-point shot as they sunk another trio of threes in the fourth.

They also managed to slow the Indian offense as they Panthers began to claw their way back.  Eventually, the Indians would hold on for a 50-49 nail-biting victory.

Diedrich led the team in scoring with eighteen points, while Hoffman had 10.  Both Peterson and Gann finished the game with six points each.

The Indians didn’t suffer a single loss on the 2022-2023 boys’ basketball season until Monday, Dec. 26.  Pecatonica got off to an 8-0 start until the 9-3 Byron Tigers managed to put a digit in the loss column.  While a loss is never a good thing, it was important to see how Head Coach Bobby Heisler’s squad would respond to adversity.

The Indians wouldn’t have much time to dwell as they were right back on the court the very next day.

As part of the Eastland Holiday Tournament, the Indians were scheduled to face off with the Amboy Clippers on Tuesday, Dec. 27.  The Clippers struggled through the early parts of the season as they brought a 3-8 record into the matchup.

The Clippers’ struggles would continue in this one, as the Indians dominated from start to finish. Pecatonica quickly got back into the win column with a 90-54 victory.  In fact, the Indians would bounce back in a big way as they went on to claim four victories in a row, which earned them the championship in the Eastland Holiday Tournament.

Pecatonica will be back on their home court on Thursday, Jan. 5, when they play host to the Aquin Bulldogs.  Aquin has struggled through the season as they currently sit winless at 0-10.

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