Early in the season, it was struggles down the stretch. In recent weeks, it’s been one bad quarter.
The reasons may change, but the results have been the same too many times for the Pekin girls basketball team.
The Dragons suffered another loss Monday night, falling 53-41 to host Dunlap in a Mid-Illini Conference game rescheduled from Jan. 12.
Dunlap outscored Pekin 19-5 in the second quarter, wiping out a 13-8 lead the Dragons took after the first quarter. The Eagles led 27-18 at halftime.
“We played well for three quarters again,” said Pekin coach Brett McGinnis.
“Dunlap switched from the 2-3 zone they played in the first quarter to a man-to-man defense starting in the second quarter. We shot well against the zone, but the man-to-man sped up our offense and put us in positions we’re not used to being in.”
Pekin (4-21, 1-10) climbed within five points twice midway through the fourth quarter before Dunlap (14-8, 7-4) pulled away. The Eagles were 13-for-17 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter and 20-for-31 for the game.
Taylor Goss scored 14 points and Jenna Taphorn had 13 for the Dragons, who were 12-for-17 on free throws. Lauren Juergens had six points and Gracie Kizer had five for Pekin.
Sonija Tutt (17 points, 8-for-13 free throws), Elle Sutter (12 points) and Ellie Swanson (11 points, 6-for-10 free throws) were Dunlap’s offensive leaders.
Pekin will return home Friday for a Senior Night game against Mid-Illini powerhouse Morton (22-2, 10-0, No. 3 Class 3A). Or, as Hawkins Gym public announcer Bob Neal correctly called last week, “Lauren Juergens Night.”
Juergens is the young Pekin team’s lone senior.
“It’s been great having Lauren on our team. She’s laid back, which has been a good thing this season,” McGinnis said. “It would have been very easy for us to lose our locker room, but Lauren has helped keep it together. She’s not a vocal leader. She leads with her actions.”
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.