MONTICELLO -- Paxton-Buckley-Loda was one quarter away from leaving the Monticello Holiday Hoopla with a first-place trophy.
The Panthers led 22-17 at halftime and 32-30 at the end of the third quarter, but Tuscola outscored PBL 15-7 en route to a 45-39 victory on Saturday.
"We hit a wall in the second half," PBL head coach Adam Schonauer said. "Tuscola played good defense. They played hard and made it difficult for us. We did get some open looks. We just couldn't knock them. We turned the ball over a couple of times. That's part of playing four games in three days. Ultimately, they won the battle of attrition tonight."
Trey VanWinkle and Drake Schrodt each converted on a three-point play to give PBL a 6-0 lead with 6:38 left in the first quarter. VanWinkle finished the game with 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor -- including a 1-of-7 effort from beyond the arc -- while recording two rebounds and one steal while Schrodt finished with seven points on 2-of-4 shooting along with three rebounds and one assist.
Both VanWinkle and Schrodt were selected for the all-tournament team.
"Drake did a really nice job. He's shooting the ball with confidence right now and he's doing a really good job of handling the basketball and getting guys open shots," Schonauer said. "Trey is still playing very well. He's being aggressive. He's shooting the ball well right now. Tonight, shots didn't fall for us, but our guys still played hard, and I'm happy for them for earning those accolades. That's from the other coaches recognizing their hard work and their ability."
Tuscola (11-0) took the lead via an 8-0 run as Cole Cunningham made a 3-pointer, Ben Dixon scored two points via an assist from Jalen Quinn and Jacob Kibler scored on an offensive-rebound putback and made a free throw with 4:43 left in the first quarter.
Colton Coy made two free throws to tie the game with 3:40 remaining in the opening quarter before Grant Hardwick scored a go-ahead basket for Tuscola. VanWinkle made a game-tying bucket before stealing the ball and scoring on a reverse layup with 23 seconds left in the first quarter to give PBL a 12-10 lead as the opening quarter came to an end.
Busboom then stole the ball and assisted Coy on a fastbreak layup before Coy scored on another layup that extended PBL's lead to 16-10 with 5:33 left in the second quarter. After Quinn made two free throws with 5:06 remaining in the quarter, Schrodt made a 3-pointer and a free throw that extended the lead to 20-12 with 4:02 remaining in the first half.
With about one minute left in the half, Hardwick made a 3-pointer. Coy and Kibler exchanged buckets to conclude the first-half scoring.
The Panthers (9-2) finished the first half shooting 8-for-19 from the floor in the first half while Tuscola shot 6-for-20.
VanWinkle made a 3-pointer with 6:01 left in the third quarter to extend PBL's lead to 25-17 before Quinn made a basket and Hardwick drained a 3-pointer to cut Tuscola's deficit to 25-22. After VanWinkle scored on a running jump shot, Cunningham made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 27-25.
Alex Rueck scored on an offensive-rebound putback before Hardwick and Jarred Gronsky exchanged 3-pointers to make the score 32-28. Quinn made a bucket to conclude the third-quarter scoring as Gronsky missed a putback attempt at the buzzer.
Hardwick made a free throw with 6:41 remaining in the game before Coy scored on an underhanded layup to make the score 34-31. After Busboom committed his fourth foul with 5:40 remaining, Quinn scored on a driving layup before Kibler tallied a go-ahead basket with 5:04 left in the game to give Tuscola a 35-34 lead.
Busboom would foul out of the game with 25.2 seconds remaining.
After Quinn blocked a layup attempt by Sam Penicook with 4:40 left in the game, Rueck was called for an offensive foul five seconds later.
"They were trapping our ball screens, and we missed some guys who were open. Part of that is just getting pressure and our guys not seeing it. They were good in their rotations," Schonauer said. "They did a good job helping where they needed to help and getting out of their help and to their rotations. They have good athletes. They're long and athletic."
Hardwick then made a long trey to extend the Warriors' lead to 38-34 with about four minutes remaining in the game.
"That's part of the game. It's a game of runs," Schonauer said. "We played really hard last night against Ridgeview, and it came back to bite us a little bit here tonight. We really struggled to make open shots in the second half when we were able to get into our offense."
With about 3 1/2 minutes left, Quinn -- who, along with Hardwick, also finished the game with 15 points while grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out five assists and recording three blocked shots and two steals -- scored on another driving layup to extend the advantage to 40-34.
"They were able to get some buckets," Schonauer said. "Quinn was able to get the rim and keep them in the game. We still held them to 45 points, so defensively, we gave a good effort."
After VanWinkle missed a 3-point shot attempt, Quinn was fouled by Penicook as he grabbed the defensive rebound. He made two free throws with 3:12 remaining to extend the Warriors' lead to 42-34.
"We just didn't get enough points on the board," Schonauer said. "The way we have to play, we need to be able to move the ball and be crisp, and we weren't able to do that tonight. We hit a wall in the second half."
Coy missed a layup with about three minutes left. After Busboom drew a charging foul on Quinn -- his fourth foul -- with 2:38 left in the game, Coy missed a 3-point attempt 15 seconds later.
After missing a 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining, Busboom made a trey 24 seconds later to cut PBL's deficit to 42-37. With one minute left in the game, Quinn made a free throw to make the score 43-37.
VanWinkle scored two points while being fouled by Cunningham with 17.5 seconds left in the game. He missed the ensuing free-throw attempt as Quinn grabbed the defensive rebound.
With 14.6 seconds remaining, Quinn made two more free throws to conclude the game's scoring.
The Panthers finished the second half shooting 7-for-31 from the floor, including a 3-for-18 effort in the fourth quarter.
Like VanWinkle, Coy also finished the game in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the floor. He also grabbed five rebounds.
Busboom dished out three assists, grabbed four rebounds and recorded two steals while scoring three points on 1-of-4 shooting from the floor. Gronsky also scored three points on 1-of-6 shooting while Rueck scored two points on 1-of-1 shooting.
In each of its two losses so far this season, both to teams with double-digit wins so far this season, PBL led at halftime. The Panthers led Prairie Central -- which was 10-3 heading into the Williamsville Holiday Tournament -- by a score of 29-22 on Dec. 20 before losing 62-48.
"You have to raise your level of play and preparation in order to have a chance against teams like that," Schonauer said. "We're learning lessons here on the fly, and we'll be better because of it. You get nothing out of beating teams by 25 or 30 points. This is where you find out what kind of mental toughness your team has and how you're going to compete when things get difficult. We did a much better job of competing to the end."
After hosting Rantoul on Friday, PBL will be at home against Momence on Friday, Jan. 10, and Shelbyville on Saturday, Jan. 11, before traveling to face St. Joseph-Ogden on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
Tuscola 45, PBL 39
PBL 12 10 10 7 -- 39
TUS 10 7 13 15 -- 45
Drake Schrodt 2-4 2-3 7, Trey VanWinkle 6-15 1-3 14, Colton Coy 4-13 2-2 10, Sam Penicook 0-6 0-0 0, Dalton Busboom 1-4 0-0 3, Gavin Coplea 0-1 0-0 0, Jarred Gronsky 1-6 0-0 3, Brett Giese 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Rueck 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 15-50 5-8 39.
Jalen Quinn 4-8 7-8 15, Grant Hardwick 5-10 1-2 15, Jacob Kibler 2-4 1-1 5, Ben Dixon 2-5 0-1 4, Cole Cunningham 2-6 0-0 6, Nick Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Tiezzi 0-1 0-0 0, Donoven Chester 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-35 9-12 45.
3-pointers -- PBL 4-21 (Schrodt 1-3, VanWinkle 1-7, Busboom 1-3, Gronsky 1-1). Tuscola 6-17 (Hardwick 4-8, Cunningham 2-6).
Rebounds -- PBL 27 (Coy 5, Busboom 4, Schrodt 3). Tuscola 33 (Quinn 10, Kibler 6, Hardwick 4, Dixon 4, Chester 3).
Assists -- PBL 6 (Busboom 3, Penicook 2). Tuscola 8 (Quinn 5, Cunningham 2).
Steals -- PBL 6 (Coplea 3, Busboom 2). Tuscola 5 (Quinn 2).
Blocks -- Tuscola 4 (Quinn 3, Dixon).