The Pekin girls basketball team used a well balanced scoring attack Tuesday night to earn a 66-48 victory over East Peoria at East Peoria high school.

The Lady Dragons controlled the tempo for most of the contest with consistent scoring, tallying 18 points in three of the four quarters of the game.

Both teams struggled taking care of the basketball. Pekin had 18 turnovers, while East Peoria turned the ball over 19 times.

In a contested first quarter, Pekin edged out a 12-11 lead, but struggled on both sides of the floor.

“We changed our defense after the first quarter and we were missing a lot of shots early,” Pekin coach Becky Fulkerson said. “The adage goes, ‘You shoot until you make it and you shoot until you miss’ and I will never stop telling my kids to shoot the ball.”

Pekin came out of the gates quick in the second quarter, scoring 18 points in the second frame. 

Maddy Cash was the catalyst in the quarter for the Lady Dragons, scoring 9 points.

East Peoria was able to cut the lead to 28-22 seconds before halftime, but Pekin forced a costly turnover and Cash was able to score with time expiring in the first half to give Pekin a 30-22 lead at halftime.

The Lady Dragons established a 48-33 lead going into the fourth quarter, where they continued their well-balanced scoring attack with seven players scoring in the last frame.

“I was pleased that we didn’t force things we had more patience and were a little bit more disciplined on offense,” Fulkerson said. “Maddy missed a few early but then she was really consistent the rest of the game.”

Cash led Pekin in scoring with 18 points, thanks to three 3-point field goals. 

The Lady Dragon’s all time leading girls basketball scorer, Sydney Diekhoff scored 11 points, while Bailey Tibbets added 13 points.

“We know everyone is gunning to stop Diekhoff,” Fulkerson said. “We have four other girls on the floor who are capable of putting up big numbers. If we can continue (to have other players play well), then I really like our chances.”

East Peoria was pleased that they were able to limit Diekhoff to only 11 points, but it was the rest of the Lady Dragons that were the issue for the Raiders. 

“Holding Diekhoff to 11 points was good,” East Peoria coach Khassandrae Brown said. “But then it seemed like we forgot about their other four players on the court.”

For East Peoria, 48 points is a season high in scoring.

“For the most part we shot the ball well and we were more patient than we usually are,” Brow said n. “But we need to get tougher and handle pressure a little bit better as well.”

Ashley Emert scored a game high 20 points, with two 3-pointers and a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from the free throw line.

“(Emert) is our go to player right now and has been most of the year,” Brown said. “The girls look to her to score and she is really good at creating her own shot. “

Sarah Lahood (13 points) and Remi Ferguson (9 points) also played key roles for East Peoria.