PAXTON — Paxton-Buckley-Loda regained its bragging rights on the hardwood.
The Panthers renewed their Ford County rivalry with Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on Tuesday. With a 62-43 victory, PBL claimed its first win over the Falcons since the 2016-17 season.
“It feels good to finally beat them," PBL senior Trey VanWinkle said.
The Falcons went into Tuesday's game having won the previous four meetings over the past two years en route to a combined record of 88-7 during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
“It was nice to be on the right side of one here against GCMS after the run they’ve had the last few years," PBL head coach Adam Schonauer said.
The win also keeps the Panthers undefeated as they improved their 2019-20 record to 6-0.
"It’s good to get a win, especially on the home floor, and keep the momentum going here early in the season," Schonauer said.
Trey VanWinkle started the scoring on Tuesday with a 3-pointer to give PBL an early 3-0 lead before Spencer Meenen scored on an offensive-rebound putback for GCMS. Braden Roesch scored a go-ahead basket for the Falcons (2-5) before Cade Elliott scored on a driving layup to extend GCMS's lead to 6-3.
From there, however, the Panthers ended the first quarter on an 18-2 run, starting with a game-tying 3-pointer by VanWinkle with 4:34 left in the first quarter. Meenen committed an off-the-ball foul on the game-tying trey, and three seconds later, VanWinkle — who finished with a game-high 21 points — drained another shot from beyond the arc to give PBL a 9-6 lead.
“It’s always nice to come out hot. In this type of energy in this type of gym, it’s always nice to start off hot to get the game going," VanWinkle said.
Sam Penicook then made another trey to extend the lead to 12-6. The Panthers ended the opening quarter with five 3-pointers.
“We kind of figured they would kind of pack it in on us and make us try and beat them over the top," Schonauer said. "We’ve got guys who are capable shooters, so I’m perfectly comfortable with us shooting the ball from the outside and getting the ball inside and playing outside as well. That’s one thing I really like about this team — we can score in multiple ways. I think teams really have to look at what they’re willing to give up and try and take away from us. Tonight, they tried to take away inside stuff, and we were able to shoot over the top of it.”
After drawing Meenen's third foul with 3:16 left in the first quarter, Alex Rueck drew another GCMS foul 24 seconds later and made a free throw to extend PBL's lead to 13-6. After Cade Elliott made a basket for GCMS to end the Panthers' 10-0 spurt, Rueck — who finished the game with eight points — converted on a three-point play with 2:03 remaining in the first quarter as he drew Roesch's second foul, extending PBL's lead to 16-8.
“Alex has played really well every single game this year," Schonauer said. "He’s been a matchup problem for a lot of teams, and his touch around the rim is so good. Now he’s starting to develop where he’ll make moves down there, and he’s also unselfish. He’ll pass the ball. Having him coming off the bench is huge with what he gives us offensively and rebounding and his physicality. If we can continue to get minutes out of him like that all year, that’s going to make it tough.”
Jarred Gronsky made a 3-pointer before Dalton Busboom made two free throws with 40.7 seconds left in the first quarter to extend the Panthers' advantage to 21-8. Busboom finished with two points — and contributed in other ways, according to Schonauer.
“Both Colton (Coy) and Alex (Rueck) get a lot of points because of Dalton Busboom’s ability to pass the ball in the high-post area," Schonauer said. "He gets them a lot of easy baskets. He gets everybody easy shots because he sees the floor so well. He’s an unselfish player and will kick it out to open guys. All of our post guys do a really nice job of posting and sealing and sharing the basketball.”
Elliott made two free throws with 7:36 left in the second quarter and Roesch — who led GCMS with 20 points — tallied a bucket to cut GCMS's deficit to 21-12. After Penicook — who finished with nine points — made another 3-pointer, Roesch scored again to make the score 24-14.
Colton Coy made two free throws with 4:35 left in the second quarter before Drake Schrodt stole the ball and scored on a fastbreak layup and VanWinkle did the same on the Falcons' ensuing possession to extend PBL's lead to 30-14 with 4:04 left in the second quarter.
“The pressure they put on, they just keep at you," GCMS head coach Ryan Tompkins said. "If you have the home run turnovers, it gives them momentum. They came out and hit some shots early, and then they were able to go inside a little bit, and then they got some turnovers for points in that second quarter when we were kind of clawing ourselves back into the game. We’re really happy, I think, overall with how we played in the second and third quarters. In a situation where you have to try to claw back and have good possessions at the half-court level, we did some good things. We were able to get touches inside and get some inside-out looks. Those are things we have to continue to do.”
Tanner Cribbett made a 3-pointer for GCMS before Coy scored two points on a layup via an assist from Rueck. VanWinkle then scored while being fouled by Elliott with 3:06 left in the second quarter to extend PBL's lead to 34-17.
Roesch made a basket before Schrodt drained another 3-pointer for PBL to extend his team's lead to 37-19. Nathan Kallal made a trey for GCMS before Coy made a basket and Rueck drew Jordan Lee's third foul and made a free throw with 1:17 left in the second quarter.
Rueck then made another basket to extend the Panthers' advantage to 42-24 as halftime approached.
“They played well. They’re able to hit shots like that, and then with their physicality in the paint — that’s part of why they’re 6-0 right now and have been winning by some wide margins," Tompkins said. "It’s a group of seniors who have played together a lot with some juniors mixed in. Coach Schonauer’s done a great job with them. They have a lot of expectations over here, and they played really well tonight.”
Coy made a basket before a basket and two free throws by Roesch cut GCMS's deficit to 44-28 with 6:57 left in the third quarter. After Coy drained another two-point bucket, VanWinkle stole the ball and raced toward the opposite basket to score on a driving layup to extend PBL's lead to 48-28.
After the game, Tompkins said turnovers — along with rebounding — are an area in which his Falcons have a lot of room for improvement.
“You can’t have turnovers, and we’ve got to rebound the basketball better, but we’re doing some different things and learning as we go," Tompkins said. "There are a couple of areas that we have plenty of potential to grow in, and we’ve just got to get back to work and get better in those areas. We just want our guys to come out and play hard and play aggressive and play with a little bit more determination, and we were happy with their effort level.”
Cribbett and VanWinkle exchanged buckets to make the score 50-30. Roesch made two baskets and a free throw to cut GCMS's deficit to 50-36 before a bucket by VanWinkle made the score 52-36 with 2:08 left in the third quarter.
Ethan Garard made a 3-pointer for GCMS before Coy — who finished with 12 points — scored via an assist from Gavin Coplea on an offensive rebound to make the score 54-39.
“Colton Coy has been really good all year," Schonauer said. "He finishes well around the rim. He uses his body well to take and create contact.”
Gronsky and VanWinkle each made a basket to extend PBL's lead to 58-39 as the third quarter came to an end.
“It’s always nice to have good shooting nights," VanWinkle said. "Luckily, we made a lot of shots as a team tonight. We played really well in the first half.”
After Lee fouled out with 7:22 remaining in the game, Rueck made a free throw 46 seconds later. Penicook then converted on a three-point play with 5:47 left in the contest to extend PBL's lead to 62-39. Cribbett and Kallal each tallied a bucket to cut GCMS's deficit to 62-43.
Cribbett and Kallal finished the game with seven and five points, respectively, while Elliott finished with six points, Garard had three points and Meenen had two points for GCMS. For PBL, Schrodt and Gronsky each had five points.
The Panthers will travel to Fairbury to face Prairie Central — which had a 7-2 record prior to Tuesday after winning the GCMS Thanksgiving Tournament title last November — on Friday.
“It should be a really fun game," Schonauer said. "This will be probably our biggest test of the year going up there Friday night. They’re a really good basketball team. They’re very talented, well-coached and a tough defensive team, so we’re going to have to be ready to go up there and play 32 minutes and execute and battle.”
Meanwhile, GCMS will host Blue Ridge that same Friday.
“They have an experienced group and some size," Tompkins said.
The Panthers and Falcons will both compete in the Monticello Holiday Tournament.
On Thursday, Dec. 26, PBL will face Neoga at 3:30 p.m. The following Thursday, the Panthers will face Clinton at 11:30 a.m. and Ridgeview at 7:30 p.m. the following Friday.
“We get three teams that we won’t see the rest of the year," Schonauer said. "We’re getting three different styles of play, so we’re going to have to be prepared for that. It’s going to help us out in the long run, and when you get to play a Rodney Kellar-coached team, you know that his team is going to be prepared, so you better be prepared as well. Hopefully, all that stuff benefits us here coming out of the holiday.”
Meanwhile, GCMS will face Tuscola at 10 a.m. and Monticello at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, before facing Oakwood at 2 p.m. the following Friday.
“Our schedule is tough. It always has been," Tompkins said. "We just have to continue to try to grow and get better and play with the intensity that we know we’re capable of, like we did tonight. We played hard. We played with a little more passion tonight, and that was good to see.”
The Paxton-Buckley-Loda junior varsity boys basketball team defeated Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 46-28 on Tuesday.
The Panthers outscored GCMS 13-4 in the first quarter as Keagan Busboom scored five points for PBL while Brandon Knight added four points and Mason Bruns and Mason Medlock each contributed two points. Hunter Brewer and Ty Harden each scored two points for the Falcons during the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Knight scored another four points while Medlock and Bruns each had two points as PBL took a 21-11 lead into halftime. Seth Barnes hit a 3-pointer and Hunter Brewer made a free throw for GCMS.
The Panthers outscored the Falcons 12-9 in the third quarter as Medlock scored six points — including a 4-for-6 outing at the free-throw line — while Busboom made a 3-pointer, Knight made two foul shots and Bruns added a free throw. Seth Barnes made two 3-pointers for GCMS while Awstace Grauer and Austin Elliott each added a trey.
In the fourth quarter, Knight made 4-of-4 free-throw attempts and two field goals while Busboom went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe and Bruns tallied two free throws as well as PBL outscored the Falcons 13-8. Seth Kollross made a 3-pointer for GCMS while Barnes made two baskets and a free throw.
Knight finished with a game-high 18 points while Busboom and Medlock each scored in double figures as well for PBL with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Barnes led GCMS with 14 points while Grauer, Kollross, Brewer and Elliott each had three points and Harden had two points.
HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY BOYS
PBL 62, GCMS 43
GCMS 8 16 15 4 — 43
PBL 21 21 16 4 — 62
Tristan Roesch 0-0-0, Tanner Cribbett 3-0-7, Cade Elliott 2-2-6, Braden Roesch 8-4-20, Nick Culler 0-0-0, Nathan Daughenbaugh 0-0-0, Ethan Garard 1-0-3, Spencer Meenen 1-0-2, Nathan Kallal 2-0-5, Jordan Lee 0-0-0, Alex Meece 0-0-0. Totals 17-6-43.
Drake Schrodt 2-0-5, Gavin Coplea 0-0-0, Trey VanWinkle 9-0-21, Jarred Gronsky 2-0-5, Hank Harms 0-0-0, Levi Frichtl 0-0-0, Drew Diesburg 0-0-0, Colton Coy 5-2-12, Matthew Miller 0-0-0, Sam Penicook 3-1-9, Brett Giese 0-0-0, Gunner Belt 0-0-0, Dalton Busboom 0-2-2, Alex Rueck 2-4-8. Totals 23-9-62.
3-pointers — GCMS 3 (Cribbett, Garard, Kallal). PBL 7 (VanWinkle 3, Penicook 2, Schrodt, Gronsky).
JUNIOR VARSITY BOYS
PBL 46, GCMS 28
GCMS 4 7 9 8 — 28
PBL 13 8 12 13 — 46
Zander Wier 0-0-0, Awstace Grauer 1-0-3, Ty Harden 0-2-2, Seth Kollross 1-0-3, Hunter Brewer 1-1-3, Seth Barnes 5-1-14, Austin Elliott 1-0-3. Totals 9-4-28.
Keagan Busboom 3-3-11, Mason Bruns 2-3-7, Cory DeGarmo 0-0-0, Garrett Sanders 0-0-0, Jacob Gronsky 0-0-0, Jeremiah Ager 0-0-0, Mason Medlock 3-4-10, Kayden Snelling 0-0-0, Brandon Knight 6-6-18, Aiden Johnson 0-0-0. Totals 14-16-46.
3-pointers — GCMS 6 (Barnes 3, Elliott, Kollross, Grauer). PBL 2 (Busboom 2).