A familiar scenario played out Tuesday night in Hawkins Gym.
The Pekin girls basketball team played well in stretches during the first three quarters of a game, but couldn’t finish the job in the fourth quarter.
Visiting Limestone beat Pekin 53-45 in a Mid-Illini Conference contest, pulling away from the Dragons in the fourth quarter after the teams went into the quarter tied 30-30.
“We took quick shots, turned the ball over, couldn’t get stops ... the same stuff. We just can’t get that monkey off our backs,” Pekin coach Brett McGinnis said about his team’s season-long fourth-quarter woes.
Limestone coach Leah Zeitler liked what she saw from her team in the fourth quarter Tuesday.
“Multiple girls stepped up, we had some runs, we made some shots, and our defense sparked our offense,” she said.
“I was disappointed in our intensity in the first half, and give Pekin credit,” she added. “They were ready to go when the game started, and their quickness bothered us early. We picked up our intensity in the second half.”
Pekin led 22-19 at halftime. The Dragons (3-16, 1-6) trailed for most of the first half before they took the lead for the first time on a three-point play by Taylor Goss with 22.6 seconds left in the half that broke a 19-19 tie.
Another three-point play -- this one by Leah McClanahan -- sent Pekin in front 25-19 just seven seconds into the third quarter.
Limestone (7-11, 2-5) outscored the Dragons 34-20 the rest of the way.
A drive to the basket by Goss gave the Dragons a 32-30 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Pekin missed its next eight shots while being outscored 12-1 and Limestone had a commanding 42-33 lead with about two minutes left.
The Rockets scored nine of their final 11 points at the free throw line as Pekin was forced to foul.
Limestone was 11-for-15 on free throws in the fourth quarter after going 0-for-4 in the first three quarters and finished 11-for-19 at the line.
The opposite was true for Pekin. The Dragons were a perfect 6-for-6 on free throws in the first three quarters but only 2-for-6 in the fourth quarter and finished 8-for-12.
Limestone was 5-for-10 from the field in the fourth quarter to Pekin’s 6-for-16.
“We were tossing up shots instead of working for shots in the fourth quarter,” McGinnis said.
Each team had three players score in double figures.
Goss led Pekin with 14 points. Jenna Taphorn had 12 and McClanahan had 11 for the Dragons. Lauren Juergens was the only other Pekin player who scored. She had eight points.
McClanahan and fellow freshman Gracie Kizer were in the Pekin’s starting lineup.
Allison Westerdahl had a game-high 19 points for Limestone. Helena Driscoll scored 14 for the Rockets and Karsen White had 10.
Westerdahl, one of the Rockets’ four senior starters, made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter that put Limestone ahead for good (33-32) and went 4-for-6 at the free throw line in the quarter. Her two free throw misses came after the game’s outcome was no longer in doubt.
“Our seniors provide great leadership,” Zeitler said.
GAME NOTES: Limestone shot 50 percent from the field (19-for-38) and Pekin shot 38 percent (17-for-45). ... The Rockets outrebounded the Dragons 26-15. ... Limestone led 6-0 before Lauren Juergens got Pekin on the board with 3:07 to go in the first quarter on a drive to the hoop. ... Taylor Goss came off the bench to record a three-point play that put Pekin ahead 22-19 halftime. Goss was taken out of the game with 4:07 left in the second quarter after picking up her second foul.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.