It’s been an interesting week at the season-opening Washington Tournament of Champions for the Pekin boys basketball team. And it’s about to get more interesting.
The Dragons lost 60-44 to Aurora Christian on Tuesday and 77-72 to Pacifica Christian (California) on Wednesday in Torry Gym in a game that began at about 9:45 p.m.
Pekin will face Pleasant Grove (Utah), featuring 7-foot-4 senior Matthew Van Komen, at 9:15 p.m. Friday and play its final tournament game sometime Saturday against a team to be determined late Friday night.
Will Wolfe and Taaj Davis, who are getting looks from Division I colleges, scored 17 and 13 points, respectively, to lead Aurora Christian past Pekin. Wolfe is a 6-7 junior.
Patrick Torrey topped the Dragons with 11 points and Justin Taphorn had nine, including 7-for-8 at the free throw line. Torrey also had eight rebounds.
Solomon Davis scored 25 points and Judah Brown had 19 points and nine rebounds for Pacifica Christian in its win over Pekin.
“We’re not going to see two 6-7 guys on the same team like those two who can play above the rim and shoot contested 3’s,” said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven.
Davis was 4-for-6 from 3-point range en route to his 25-point night. Houston Mallotte, a 6-4 sophomore, scored 23 points for Pacifica Christian.
Four Pekin players scored in double figures against the Californians, combing for 57 points.
They were Brady Grashoff (21), Max Jones (14), Adam Cash (11) and Torrey (11), who was 5-for-8 from the field and had eight rebounds.
“We shot 100 percent better (Wednesday) than we did in our first game,” Walraven said. “We were 2-for-16 on triples Tuesday.”
Pekin shot 53 percent from the field against Pacifica Christian, going 30-for-56.
Pacifica Christian shot 45 percent (26-for-58) against Pekin and was 13-for-14 at the free throw line compared to the Dragons’ 6-for-10.
Pekin led Pacifica Christian 35-32 at halftime, but the Californians ended the third quarter with a 52-46 lead thanks in large part to a trio of triples in the quarter by Davis. The teams combined for 51 points in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve been happy with our effort so far,” Walraven said. “We’ve had different positives and different things to learn from in each game. Adam (Cash) is doing a good job at point guard, running our offense and getting us into our sets.”
Needless to say, Van Komen will present a major challenge for the Dragons and the 6-7 Torrey, who is nine inches shorter than Van Komen, a Utah recruit and the tallest player in high school basketball.
“He’s athletic,” Walraven said about Van Komen. “He runs the floor well. He gets most of his points by grabbing a pass near the rim and dunking the ball.”
Here’s the real bad news for Pekin.
“I think (Van Komen) is the fourth-best player on his team,” Walraven said.
One of the players ahead of Van Komen on Walraven’s list is 6-2 senior Casey Brown, who is headed to Brigham Young.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.