The Richwoods boys basketball team will not defend its Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament title.

Washington made sure of that with a 55-52 double overtime victory in the first game of the 46th annual event Monday morning.

The Richwoods boys basketball team will not defend its Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament title.

Washington made sure of that with a 55-52 double overtime victory at Dawson Hawkins Gym in the first game of the 46th annual event Monday morning.

The Panthers trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and 27-16 at intermission before turning around their fortunes with hustle plays.

Washington went from being a half-step slower than the Knights to a half-step faster. On multiple occasions in the second half, a Panther rebounded his own miss in front of a Richwoods player who was closer to the carom initially.

“I thought the kids did a great job responding,” said WCHS head coach Kevin Brown, who told the team at halftime he was not going to coach effort. “In the second half, I thought we really scrapped.”

Ben Ryan led the charge in the effort category by putting back his own miss at the 7:01 mark of the third quarter and trimming the Panthers’ deficit to eight points. They eventually outscored the Knights 14-6 in the frame.

Ryan had nine third-period points and tallied 15 of his game-high 21 after the half.

“Ben Ryan was incredible today,” Brown said. “He did a great job of getting those mismatches.”

Brown noted Richwoods used about six players to guard Ryan, a 6-foot-5 junior who is a key ballhandler.

Washington’s Dalton Wagler and Mark Roth also were in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Washington shut out Richwoods for the final 4:14 of the third. Ben Weston and Ryan combined for five points in that sequence to help the Mid-Illini Conference representative draw within 33-30 with eight minutes left.

Panther Grant Johnson sliced it to 33-32 with a bucket after the Knights fumbled a missed free throw.

With 4:42 remaining, Ryan knotted the game at 38 after sinking two free throws.

Forty-seven seconds later, he gave Washington the lead with two more foul shots.

Richwoods ran off four points in a row before Wagler evened it with 2:09 on the clock.

The Panthers trailed 44-40 until a Roth field goal at 1:16.

The Knights missed the front end of a one-and-bonus at :36.3, then two follow-ups eluded them.

The teams traded a free throw before Wagler was fouled at :10.4 collecting a Richwoods miss at the charity stripe.

Wagler calmly made both attempts at the line — completing a 6-for-6 day there — to forge a tie at 45.

The Washington defense forced the Knights into a three-point try from a player who did not score all day. When it fell long, the game was extended.

The Panthers twice led by two points in the first OT, but the outcome still was undecided after Jared Dehm went 2-for-2 on free throws with :38.1 to go.

Washington scored the final five points of the second extra session after Richwoods struck first to ensure a stay in the main gym for the entire tournament.

Roth rebounded his own free-throw miss in the final seconds to shorten the time left for the Knights, who ultimately did not get a game-tying attempt in the air in the last :04.9.

The Knights made a trio of threes in the first quarter to go up 17-10. Wagler had six of the Panthers’ points in the opening stanza.

The teams combined for just 16 points in the second period. A 10-2 Richwoods spurt created a double-figure margin.

Denzel Irving led Richwoods, which was demoted to Custer/Stoudt Gym for at least the next two contests, with 16 points.

The Knights placed second in the Class 3A state final a year ago. They have an entirely new starting line-up.

The Washington victory started a 4-0 day for the Mid-Illini.

Springfield Lanphier 58, WCHS 56
The Lions made a surprise advancement to the semifinals by topping the Panthers Tuesday morning.

Washington, which shot 66 percent from the floor, was led by 14 points and five rebounds from Roth.

Alec Peters (12 points) and Ryan (11) also were in double figures.

Playing his second game of the season, Nick Finney chipped in nine points.

The Panthers outscored Lanphier 31-27 in the second half, but fell a basket short of their third straight win.

Lion Everett Clemons guided all scorers with 24 points.

Lanphier, a Central State Eight Conference member, upset No. 2 seed Moline Monday, 64-49.

Also at Pekin: Washington (6-6) lost to third-seeded Chicago Mt. Carmel Tuesday afternoon, 61-51, before dispatching Pekin Wednesday, 36-25, in the seventh-place contest.

Check back for more details of those games.