Balanced scoring usually produces a victory on the basketball court.
The Pekin boys team had that balance Saturday night. With three players scoring in double figures, the Dragons dominated Limestone 58-36 in a Mid-Illini Conference game at Hawkins Gym.
Jace Link led Pekin with 14 points. The 6-foot-4 senior also pulled down 10 rebounds. Brady Grashoff had 11 points and Jack Halstead had 10 for the Dragons. Max Jones was on the cusp of double figures with nine points.
Patrick Torrey grabbed five rebounds for Pekin (8-11, 4-3), Halstead had four assists, and Link and Jones each had a pair of steals.
Pekin's defense forced Limestone into 19 turnovers.
All in all, it was a great response by the Dragons from a disappointing 53-45 loss the previous night at Metamora in another conference game.
Mid-Illini co-leader Metamora outscored Pekin 17-7 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.
"We had good energy and execution (against Limestone)," said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven. "We did a good job finishing offensively early, which set the tone for the game.
"It was a nice conference win, which put us above .500 for the first half of the conference season. It would have been great to be 5-2 (in the Mid-Illini), but we'll take 4-3 and build from that."
Limestone coach Eddie Mathews said his team has been surprising him lately, but not in a good way.
"What I'm seeing in practice is not what I'm seeing on Friday and Saturday nights," he said. "We're competing to win in practice, but playing like we're afraid to lose in games. Lots of details aren't being taken care of."
The Rockets (7-11, 3-4) were ahead only once Saturday, on the game's first basket. A seven-point Pekin run that broke a 4-4 tie led to a 14-9 lead for the Dragons by the end of the first quarter and they were in front 27-14 at halftime and 44-28 after three quarters.
Seth Kizer led Limestone with 11 points. The 6-7 senior was 5-for-12 from the field.
Jadon Payton, who was named to the all-tournament team in December at the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, didn't have a memorable night Saturday.
The Rockets' senior guard was 2-for-12 from the field including 1-for-10 on three-pointers and he finished with seven points.
His lone triple was a long one in the first quarter.
"That was an NBA triple off a double-pick," Walraven said. "We always identify which guys on the other team are deep threats, and (Payton) is definitely one of them on Limestone's team. If someone's going to take a 3-pointer from 24, 25 feet out, well, we'll take our chances on that."
In other Pekin boys basketball news:
TRIPLES TROUBLE: The Dragons led Metamora 38-36 after three quarters Friday, but couldn't seal the deal in the fourth quarter.
"We fought well for 3 1/2 quarters. It was a one-possession game at that point," Walraven said.
A trio of triples by Metamora's Andrew Buis hurt Pekin in the fourth quarter. One three-pointer tied the game at 42-42 and another gave the Redbirds a 48-45 lead they would never lose.
Buis finished with 12 points. Payton Havens led Metamora with 16 points and fellow Washington transfer Collin Dietz had 13. Thomas Hall, a 6-7 junior, had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots for the Redbirds.
Link had 19 points and seven rebounds for Pekin. Torrey also had seven rebounds along with seven points. Jones had eight points.
"Jace (Link) is being more aggressive offensively, which is good to see," Walraven said.
SOPHS WIN: The Pekin sophomore team beat Limestone 53-43 Saturday before the varsity game.
Tyler Durr pumped in 21 points for the Dragons and Sebastian Hill had 12. D.J. Krider countered with 12 points for Limestone and Nathan Thornton had 11.
Ryan Collier, one of the Pekin's top players, was sidelined. He was wearing a soft cast on his left hand.
Steve Stein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.