By Trenten Scheidegger


    The Pecatonica Indians went through a busy part of their 2023-24 boys’ basketball schedule with a trio of matchups last week. After opening the week with a matchup against North Boone, the Indians went on to face an undefeated Byron team and a scrappy Pearl City squad.

    The Indians entered the week as a general consensus top ten team in all of Illinois 1A ball. They were riding a six-game win streak after picking up a 58-51 victory over the Lena-Winslow Panthers.

    On Jan. 23, the Indians played host to the North Boone Vikings. At the time, the Vikings held a record of just 7-13 on the season. After a solid start to the year, the Vikings lost eight of 11 games and things wouldn’t get any easier with Pecatonica on the schedule.

    Despite being outranked and on the road, the Vikings hit the court running in the first quarter. A couple of big three-pointers helped them keep pace with the high-powered Pecatonica offense early on.

    The trio of Jordan Gassman, Jaxon Diedrich, and Cooper Hoffman would ensure the Indians held the lead at the end of one. On Hoffman’s first basket of the night, he was fouled and successfully converted the and-one opportunity. Diedrich did the same as the duo combined for 12 points in the opening quarter. Gassman sunk an early three-pointer on his way to five first quarter points, as well.

    The second quarter started with a 17-15 lead for the Indians. That was as close as the game would be for the rest of the day, however. Pecatonica quickly ran away with things as their offense exploded for 25 points in the second quarter.

    Brody Black got things going with a three-pointer as he put up eight points in the second quarter. Mason Peterson, Pecatonica’s all-time leading three-point shooter, fired off a trio of field goals from beyond the arc. Hoffman added another four points, while Grant Hagemeier and Drew Williams each had baskets.

    The game was close at the end of the first, but the Indians held a massive 42-26 advantage by the halftime break. They continued to put the game further out of reach in the second half as they picked up a 75-43 victory over North Boone.

    Per usual, it was another dynamic day for the Pecatonica offense. They had four players in double figures as Hoffman led the way with sixteen points. Peterson was next up with fifteen, all of which came from three-point land as he hit five on the night. Gassman finished with fourteen, including going three for four at the free throw line. Black was the fourth in double figures with ten, and Diedrich had nine in the victory.

    After the victory over North Boone, the Indians faced another one of the tough tests on this year’s schedule. Pecatonica and their head coach, Bobby Heisler, purposefully scheduled some tougher opponents this season. We saw that when the Indians took on some bigger schools in St. Joseph-Ogden and Aurora Christian, earlier this year. Byron was another obstacle along the way as they came into their matchup against the Indians with a perfect record of 18-0.

    In a game that came down to the wire on Jan. 24, the Indians were merely seconds away from delivering the Tigers their first loss of the season. With the game tied, Hoffman threw up a shot that fell short. That left just enough time on the clock for Byron to get down the court and hit a fastbreak, buzzer-beating layup to capture a 57-55 victory. Hoffman had 23 points, while Gassman had 10 in the loss.

    The Indians went on to wrap up the week with a 78-45 victory over the Pearl City Wolves on Jan. 26. The last time Pecatonica lost a boys’ basketball game to Pearl City was all the way back in 2016. Eight years later, the Indians have dominated the season series over the Wolves in each season.

    With a 19-4 start, the Indians have played up to their expectations this season. On Monday, Feb. 5, they will travel to take on Lena-Winslow at 7 p.m.

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