24 Pecatonica’s Will Howard inbounds the ball in the Indians’ game against the Pearl City Wolves.

Last week, the Pecatonica boys’ basketball team had a busy schedule with three games in just four days.

Earlier in the week, the Indians picked up victories over North Boone and Byron.  On Friday, Jan. 27, the Indians were seeking their third win of the week as they returned home to play host to the Pearl City Wolves.

Pecatonica was the clear favorite in this one, as the Indians came into the matchup with a record of 21-4, while the Wolves were just 8-13.  This wasn’t the first time these teams had met this season, either.  Back on January 3, the Indians picked up a convincing 62-34 victory over the Wolves.  While Pearl City hoped for revenge, the Indians were hoping to replicate their results from last game.

The first points of the night came from a free throw by Cooper Hoffman.  Shortly after, Hoffman hit a three-pointer to give the Indians a 4-2 lead early in the first.  Pearl City answered with a three of their own on the very next possession, however.

Late the first, Pecatonica found themselves tied at 7-7.  That’s when Hoffman gave the Indians a 9-7 lead by grabbing his own rebound and hitting the putback shot.  That was the final lead change of the game as the Indians would soon take control.

It was the second quarter when the Indians really started firing on all cylinders.  Pecatonica’s defense gave Pearl City some fits with a number of steals and blocked shots that helped spark a run.  A steal by Brody Black quickly led to a Drew Williams layup.  On the ensuing Pearl City possession, Williams nabbed a steal of his own and finished it off with a layup at the other end.  The back to back scores by Williams really sparked some momentum for the Indians as they would go on a seventeen point run.

Shortly after the Williams’ layup, Korbin Gann got a steal of his own.  The big man took the ball down the court and tossed a lob to Hoffman who finished off the ally oop with a layup.  It was a fun moment for Gann and the Indians, who look forward to the high flying moments.  Following the game, Gann spoke about those fastbreak opportunities, saying “As athletic as [Hoffman] is, getting to play with him in practices and games, he is just a super athlete.  When you get on fast breaks with the kid you just got to get him the rock and let him do him.”  Hoffman spoke on the decision to go with the layup over the dunk, saying “Sometimes, it’s just try to finish the layup.  If you have the opportunity to, try it, but just be smart with it.”  It looked like Hoffman made the right decision in that moment.

That was certainly the case last Friday night, and that seventeen point run wound up changing the remainder of the game.  Later in the second, a Black three-pointer would give Pecatonica a 20-point lead as the Indians went up 34-14.  The Wolves wouldn’t end the run until there was just over a minute left in the first half.  By the break, the Indians held a 39-19 lead.

In the second half, the Indians were well in control of this one.  It gave Bobby Heisler’s squad the opportunity to work on some things and to get some valuable minutes for their roster.

The fourth quarter was a fun moment for the Indians.  From the crowd, the starters on the bench, and the players on the floor, the energy was high all around.  No one brought more energy to the fourth quarter than Pecatonica’s Will Koehler, however.  The six-feet, five-inch senior is limited in playing time due to the talent around him, but he makes sure to take advantage of his opportunities.

Last Friday night was the perfect opportunity for Koehler, who used his size to get to work around the basket.  Midway through the fourth, Black found Koehler on a bounce pass underneath.  Koehler finished it off with a nice layup.  Shortly after, Koehler was continued to dominate the post with a putback that gave the Indians a 64-37 lead.  In the fourth quarter alone, Koehler posted eight points and wound up being one of the top scorers of the night.

Following the victory, Heisler spoke about the energy Koehler brought, saying “Will is a capable player.  We’ve known that for the last four years.”   Heisler shared, explaining “He does a nice job, he’s a great teammate.  He has the ability to stretch the defense and can shoot the ball.  We know that, his teammates know that.  It’s just, having the wealth of talent we have, trying to get everybody minutes, it’s nice to be able to do that in games like this.  He gets an opportunity to play and showcased his skills well.”

Koehler had a big smile on his face after the game.  The senior spoke about the opportunity, saying “No matter when I go in, I try to give the same minutes.  I’m always staying ready.  Whether its fourth quarter or first quarter, I try to stay ready.”  Koehler appreciated the energy from the bench, as well, saying “All game, I give the guys energy off the bench.  So, I know they like to return that to all of us bench guys when we go in.”

Fellow teammate, Drew Williams, was loving what he saw on the floor from Koehler.  “He’s a bucket, I love the energy.”  Williams shared, adding “You’ve got to always expect the unexpected.”  For the record, Gann took offense to calling Koehler’s performance “unexpected.”  As the senior stepped in to say, “I always expect that out of him.”

All around, it was a fun night for the Indians, who picked up the 68-39 victory.  Hoffman led the team in scoring with 15 points, while Black added nine and Koehler had eight.  Following the win, Hoffman spoke about Pecatonica’s plethora of talent.  “For this team, it just feels amazing.  We just got a bunch of guys that all want to play together.  Every game it’s a different person, it’s not always me.  We got so many guys, so many weapons, that can go off any night.”  Hoffman shared.

Pecatonica will be back on the floor on Thursday, Feb. 2, when they play host to the Dakota Indians.  As of Jan. 28, Dakota held a record of 12-11 on the season.

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