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CLIFTON -- With a 70-60 win over Clifton Central on Friday, the Paxton-Buckley-Loda varsity boys basketball team improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Sangamon Valley Conference.

“It’s a good start, especially since we got a little bit of a late start to the basketball season," PBL head coach Adam Schonauer said. "Once we put four quarters together, I think we can be a really fun team to watch and a difficult team to play against.”

The Panthers outscored Clifton Central 25-16 in the first quarter.

After a 3-pointer by Jacob Shoven and a basket by Jay Lemenager gave the Comets a 5-0 lead, Drake Schrodt made a 3-pointer to cut PBL's deficit to 5-3. Lemenager tallied a bucket before Sam Penicook converted on a three-point play wiht 5:24 left in the first quarter to cut the Panthers' deficit to 7-6.

Kyle Peters drained a 3-pointer for the Comets before Trey VanWinkle made a free throw with 4:56 left in the first quarter and Schrodt -- who finished the game with nine points on 3-for-3 shooting, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, along with five rebounds, five assists and one steal -- made a 3-point shot 33 seconds later to tie the game at 10-10. Dalton Busboom then made a trey of his own to give PBL a 13-10 with four minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

“Drake Schrodt was aggressive early," Schonauer said.

Shoven then stole the ball and made a bucket before VanWinkle drained a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the first quarter. After Caleb Toberman scored on an offensive-rebound putback for Clifton Central, VanWinkle made another trey with 2:19 remaining in the opening quarter to extend PBL's lead to 19-14.

Jayson Harris made two free throws for the Comets before the Panthers ended the first quarter on a 6-0 run as Colton Coy and Sam Penicook each made a basket and Jarred Gronsky scored on a fastbreak layup to extend PBL's lead to 25-16.

“Both teams got out and shot it well tonight. We were able to get out of here scoring enough points," Schonauer said. "We had guys shoot the ball well tonight. That’s the way the game of basketball is meant to be played. It’s supposed to be a fun, beautiful game, and when the ball goes into the basket, it is.”

Penicook -- who finished the game with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting from the floor, along with three assists -- drained a 3-pointer to extend PBL's lead to 28-16 before Nathan Gray scored on a fastbreak layup via a Shoven assist.

After Coy made a basket and scored two more points on a layup via a Penicook inbound pass, VanWinkle and Shoven exchanged treys before VanWinkle made another 3-pointer to extend the Panthers' lead to 38-21. 

Harris and VanWinkle then exchanged two-point baskets to make the score 40-23.

VanWinkle finished the game with 26 points on 8-for-18 shooting from the floor, including 5-for-12 from beyond the arc, and 5-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line. He also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

“Since the second half of last year, Trey’s just been really aggressive," Schrodt said. "He’s looking to get shots. We’ll continue to let him shoot the ball as long as it goes in the basket.”

Shoven then made his third 3-pointer of the game to cut Clifton Central's deficit to 40-26.

“Shoven carried them there in the first half," Schonauer said.

Busboom -- who finished with seven points on 1-for-5 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 shooting from the free-throw line, along with five rebounds and two assists -- made two free throws with 2:30 left in the second quarter before Alex Rueck -- who had five points on 1-for-2 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 shooting on the foul line along with four rebounds -- made a free throw and a basket and Shoven made a bucket to make the halftime score 45-28.

Jay Lemenager made a 3-pointer and a two-point basket to cut Clifton Central's deficit to 45-33. VanWinkle and Shoven exchanged treys to make the score 48-36. Schrodt made a basket before a 3-pointer by Peters cut Clifton Central's deficit to 50-39.

"We played really well in the first half, but I thought our conditioning showed a little bit there in the second half," Schonauer said. "We looked a little bit sluggish, so we’ll continue to get in better shape as we play and practice more."

From there, the Panthers ended the third quarter on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 57-39.

Rueck was fouled by Gray with 2:22 left in the third quarter, and was subsequently called for a technical foul. Rueck made his two free throws and VanWinkle drained one of his two shots from the charity stripe.

On PBL's ensuing possession, VanWinkle scored two points on a layup via a lob pass by Schrodt. Jarred Gronsky -- who finished with four points along with two rebounds, two assists and one steal -- was, according to Clifton Central's scorebook, credited with a third-quarter basket.

Two baskets by Toberman and buckets by Harris and Peters cut Clifton Central's deficit to 59-47, with Coy and VanWinkle each making a free throw during the run, before Brett Giese -- who finished with two points on 2-for-2 shooting from the free throw line along with one rebound, one assist and one steal -- made two free throws to make the score 61-47 with 3:58 left in the game. Lemenager made a 3-pointer before Coy -- who finished with nine points on 4-for-8 shooting from the floor along with 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals -- tallied a bucket to extend the Panthers' lead to 63-50.

“Colton Coy and Dalton Busboom were aggressive and took good shots," Schonauer said. "They’re going to finish those shots as the season goes on. That’s what we want – we want to have five guys on the floor that are capable of scoring and making it difficult for the defense to where they can’t just take away one guy and shut us out. Our guys are ready to continue to grow and get better because they’re hard workers and good teammates.”

VanWinkle scored two more points via an assist by Schrodt on a fastbreak to make the score 65-50.

“We have guys who are skilled offensively, and we shot the ball well tonight," Schonauer said. “Defensively, we were able to get some deflections. They’ve got good basketball players, too, and their guys took care of the ball and shot the ball well and made good decisions with it. When you come out with a 10-point win against a good basketball team on their home floor, you did a lot of things right, and I’m proud of our kids.”

Peters made a basket with 2:25 remaining in the game and Harris made a free throw 29 seconds later. After Busboom made two free throws with 1:49 left in the game, Lemenager drained a 3-pointer to cut the Comets' deficit to 67-56.

“Lemenager really shot the ball well in the second half to keep them in the game," Schonauer said.

Schrodt made a free throw with 1:24 remaining before Harris tallied a free throw with 36.7 left in the game. After VanWinkle made two foul shots with 18.3 seconds remaining, Shoven made a trey with 2.4 seconds to conclude the scoring.

After hosting Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on Tuesday, the Panthers will travel to face Prairie Central the following Friday before competing in the Monticello Holiday Hoopla on Dec. 26-28.

Junior varsity

The Paxton-Buckley-Loda junior varsity boys basketball team won 44-34 over Clifton Central on Friday.

The Panthers outscored Clifton Central 11-3 in the first quarter as Mason Bruns scored four points while Mason Medlock made a 3-pointer and Cory DeGarmo and Kayden Snelling each scored two points.

In the second quarter, Brandon Knight scored four points while Snelling made a 3-pointer and DeGarmo made a free throw as PBL went into halftime leading 21-12.

In the fourth quarter, PBL extended Clifton Central 16-12 to extend a 28-22 lead as Knight had seven points while Medlock had five points and Bruns and Snelling each had two points.

Medlock and Knight each finished the game with 12 points while Bruns also scored in double figures with 10 points. Snelling scored seven points and DeGarmo had three points.

HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY BOYS

PBL 70, Clifton Central 60

PBL 25 20 12 13 -- 70

CC 16 12 11 21 -- 60

PBL (4-0, 2-0)

Drake Schrodt 3-3 1-2 9, Gavin Coplea 0-2 0-0 0, Trey VanWinkle 8-18 5-8 26, Jarred Gronsky 2 0-0 4, Colton Coy 4-8 1-4 9, Sam Penicook 3-5 1-1 8, Brett Giese 0-0 2-2 2, Dalton Busboom 1-5 4-4 7, Alex Rueck 1-2 3-4 5. Totals 22 17-25 70.

Clifton Central

Carson Turner 0-0-0, Nick Krueger 0-0-0, Kyle Peters 4-0-10, Jay Lemenager 6-0-15, Nathan Gray 1-0-2, Jacob Shoven 7-0-19, Jayson Harris 2-4-8, Riley Meier 0-0-0, Caleb Toberman 3-0-6. Totals 23-4-60.

3-pointers -- PBL 9-23 (VanWinkle 5-12, Schrodt 2-2, Penicook 1-3, Busboom 1-1). Clifton Central 10 (Shoven 5, Lemenager 3, Peters 2).

Rebounds -- PBL 32 (Coy 11, Busboom 5, Schrodt 5, VanWinkle 4, Rueck 4, Gronsky 2, Giese).

Assists -- PBL 19 (Schrodt 5, Coy 3, Penicook 3, VanWinkle 2, Gronsky 2, Busboom 2, Giese, Coplea).

Steals -- PBL 9 (VanWinkle 2, Coy 2, Schrodt, Coplea, Gronsky, Giese, Rueck).

JUNIOR VARSITY

PBL 44, Clifton Central 34

PBL 11 10 7 16 -- 44

CC 3 9 10 12 -- 34

PBL

Keagan Busboom 0-0-0, Mason Bruns 5-0-10, Cory DeGarmo 1-1-3, Garrett Sanders 0-0-0, Jacob Gronsky 0-0-0, Jeremiah Ager 0-0-0, Mason Medlock 5-0-12, Aiden Johnson 0-0-0, Brandon Knight 4-4-12, Kayden Snelling 3-0-7. Totals 18-5-44.

Clifton Central

Carson Turner 1-0-2, Nick Krueger 3-1-7, Jayce Meier 0-0-0, Grant Grider 4-0-12, Luke Shoven 1-2-4, Michael Alberts 1-2-4, Matthew Luhrsen 0-0-0, Michael Hess 1-1-3, Ryan Kohler 1-0-2. Totals 12-6-34.

3-pointers -- PBL 3 (Medlock 2, Snelling). Clifton Central 4 (Grider 4).