WASHINGTON — Washington didn’t have all its weapons at its disposal Friday night, but the Panthers had enough firepower to defeat Pekin 49-41 in a Mid-Illini Conference boys basketball game at Torry Gym.
High-scoring Louis Griffith watched much of the game from the bench because of foul trouble. Colton Sharp (concussion), Brett Williams (knee) and Zach Teubel (knee) were in street clothes.
But Max Everhart scored 19 points and Devin Whitelow added 14 to keep the host Panthers (22-3, 11-1) in a first-place tie with Metamora atop the Mid-Illini.
“We had some guys step up,” said Washington coach Kevin Brown. “Our point guard (Whitelow) was outstanding. Max (Everhart) gave us a big lift offensively early and he played solid defense for 32 minutes.”
Everhart drained all three triples he shot in the first quarter as Washington took a 17-9 lead.
Pekin (6-17, 3-9) climbed within 19-18 in the second quarter thanks to a nine-point run, but the Panthers bounced back and led 25-19 at halftime.
Washington was ahead 38-27 after three quarters and the Dragons didn’t get any closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Griffith finished with nine points. Seven came in the second half.
“The stars were aligned for us,” said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven. “Griffith had foul trouble, we made some shots and Washington played a deliberate game with Griffith out, which worked in our favor.
“But they scored right at the end of the first three quarters because of small breakdowns defensively, and there’s the eight-point difference.”
It was Whitelow who beat the buzzer three times. He tossed in a triple at the conclusion of the first quarter and he scored on drives to the hoop at the end of the next two quarters.
Ben Cash led the Dragons with 14 points. Carter Taphorn tossed in 12, making four straight triples before finally missing. Jace Link had six points and Austin Juergens was held to five.
Brown also dished out some praise for 6-foot-6 freshman center J.J. Guedet, who took down four rebounds in the first quarter.
“We’re not playing the style we thought we’d be playing (because of the injuries), but people are stepping into roles and doing them well,” he said.
Washington shot an efficient 52 percent from the field (15-for-29) against Pekin including 7-for-13 on 3-pointers. The Panthers were 5-for-6 on triples in the first quarter.
The Dragons shot 40 percent from the field (14-for-35).
Pekin committed only six turnovers. Washington had 11, all coming in the second and fourth quarters.
Washington 56, East Peoria 35
Max Everhart knocked down seven 3-pointers for Washington and the Panthers defeated East Peoria 56-35.
Everhart finished with 27 points and Devin Whitelow added 19 points for the Panthers (23-3, 12-1).
Ian Milsteadt paced East Peoria with 11 points. East Peoria trailed 28-27 at halftime but did not score in the third quarter, getting outscored 18-0.
Sports Editor Joey Wasgner contributed to this report.