Perhaps it was the late hour. Maybe it was the fatigue of playing two games in one day.

Whatever the reasons, the Pekin and Washington boys basketball teams played a strange game Thursday night at Hawkins Gym in the 53rd annual Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament.

Pekin won 34-24, holding Washington to only six points in the second half. The Panthers (5-8) misfired on all 10 three-pointers they attempted after halftime.

It was the eighth game of the day in Hawkins Gym and it ended at about 10:40 p.m.

Washington was without one of its best players. Adrian Williams, a 6-foot-6 senior who is a transfer from Decatur MacArthur, missed the game because of a death in his family.

J.J. Guedet tried to pick up the slack, but the Division I football recruit played just 6:24 because of foul trouble.

An unhappy Washington fan was ejected from the gym by referee Shane Parker after Guedet picked up his fifth foul with 7:06 left in the fourth quarter, sending the 6-8, 255-pound junior to the bench for the rest of the night.

Guedet scored the Panthers' first six points of the game and was giving Pekin (6-7) fits, but an over-the-back call saddled him with his second foul with 3:46 to go in the first quarter.

His third foul came with 6:05 left in the second quarter, and foul No. 4 was assessed with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter.

"We would have had to make some adjustments if Guedet had played more," said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven.

Washington coach Kevin Brown wasn't a happy camper after the game.

"We were outhustled. Pekin got every loose ball. We didn't defend the bucket. We didn't play well," he said.

"All we ask is for everyone to play hard. We were jogging in both directions. Pekin was packing in their 2-3 zone. We needed to push the ball, and we didn't do it.

"Someone needs to step up and be a leader on the floor for us. That's what we need."

Walraven was a happy coach on his birthday. His team bounced back from a 49-43 loss earlier in the day to Champaign Centennial in a quarterfinal game and earned a berth in the 16-team tournament's fifth-place game.

"I would have liked to have seen us score more than 34 points (against Washington), but this was the best we played at both ends of the court in the tournament,"  Walraven said. "We played four good quarters, and we rebounded well."

Pekin and Washington were tied 9-9 after the first quarter. The Dragons led 20-18 at halftime thanks to a late triple by Justin Taphorn.

Washington got two buckets from Adrian Ware in the third quarter and another from Ware in the fourth quarter. That was the extent of the Panthers' second-half offense.

Meanwhile, Jace Link scored seven of his game-high 13 points in the third quarter, helping Pekin take a 31-22 lead.

Link pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and was 5-for-6 at the free throw line, missing his final attempt. That ended the 6-4 senior's streak of 17 straight made free throws in Pekin's three tournament games.

Pekin and Washington combined for just five points in the fourth quarter.
The Dragons scored only three points -- going 3-for-7 at the foul line -- but Washington couldn't capitalize and spent much of the quarter chasing Pekin players as the Dragons ran down the clock on their offensive end.

Max Jones scored nine points and Patrick Torrey had four rebounds for Pekin, which had six steals, outrebounded Washington 24-17, and had only six turnovers.

Four Washington players scored six points: Guedet, Ware, Ben Mount and Devon Vanderheydt. The Panthers shot only 28 percent from the field (9-for-32) including 4-for-19 on triples and had 13 turnovers.

Pekin and Washington are in the Mid-Illini Conference, but Thursday's game was not a conference game. The two teams will meet Jan. 5 at Hawkins Gym in a game that will count in the conference standings.

Steve Stein can be reached at stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.