After going a week without games, the PBL Panthers' boys basketball team will take on the St. Thomas More Sabers on Tuesday at home. The Panthers' head coach, Adam Schonauer said his team intends to play their A game in order to keep up the pace with the Sabers and handle their athleticism.
"St. Thomas More is really athletic. They get up and pressure full court and are very aggressive on the offensive end," he said.
"They play fast, so we'll have to be able to keep them in front of us and try and limit them to one shot. Then we'll have to handle their ball pressure and still stay within our offense and take good shots and not get sped up."
The team's last game was in Gilman on Jan. 21 where they defeated the Iroquois West Raiders with a score of 64-39.
After tip-off, the Raiders found themselves on the board first after a quick three-point shot from Peyton Rhodes to start off the game and take the lead over the Panthers 3-0. However, PBL's Trey VanWinkle was able to put up his first series of points after being fouled while scoring a layup at around the seven-minute mark. VanWinkle missed his free throw attempt however and cut the Raiders lead to 3-2. Two rapid-fire three-pointers from the Panthers' Colton Coy allowed for PBL to quickly jump out ahead of the Raiders 8-3. After another successful three-pointer from IW's Rhodes found the bottom of the hoop to make it a two-point game, Tilstra and Coy each exchanged baskets making the score 10-8 with just under 4:30 left in the first quarter. The Panthers then started to break away once again from the Raiders, putting up seven unanswered points. Two quick succession three-pointers from the Raiders' Tilstra and Cannon Leonard cut back the Panthers' lead and put the score at 17-14. From there, the Panthers put up another four points, while holding off the Raiders to end the first quarter of play 21-14.
The second quarter is where the Panthers were really able to run up the score, grabbing 23 points in those eight minutes to the Raiders' seven and ending the half 44-21. Another 13 points from PBL to IW's nine was added to the board in quarter three to put the score at 57-30 and move into the final quarter of play where PBL was able to secure their victory with a final score of 64-39.
The win over the Raiders puts the Panthers at a 17-3 record on the season. Schonauer credited three of his team's seniors in helping contribute to the Panthers' win.
"Trey Van Winkle played really well, he's been really consistent all year and is aggressive on the offensive end. Sam Penicook probably had his best game of the season offensively. He shot the ball well. Colton Coy was also very efficient offensively, I think his was 7-9 from the field and knocked down a couple of 3's there in the first half."
Van Winkle led the Panthers at the rim, putting up a total of 18 points. Coy and Penicook each followed with 15 points apiece.
Next week, the Panthers will be back at Iroquois West High School, taking part in the SVC tournament beginning on Feb. 4.
"We'll wait and see how seeds play out and see who our matchups are," said Schonauer.
"We're just still trying to play consistent quality basketball. We're still trying to build on what we have both offensively and defensively and want to be good competition. We haven't won the tournament in my whole time here so that would definitely be a nice way to round out the season and head into the postseason."