Moline defeats Plainfield East in tournament opener

Behind a well-balanced scoring attack, Moline defeated Plainfield East 63-51 in the opening game of the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament Tuesday.

The Maroons had four players score in double figures. 

Plainfield East won the first quarter 18-11 behind Vinny Tarello, who scored 6 points.

The Bengals extended their lead to 28-11, thanks to a 10-0 run to start the second quarter.

Moline forward Deonte Billups, who started the game 0-7 from the field, found his rhythm after the 10-0 run from Plainfield East.

Billups hit back-to-back three pointers to swing momentum in favor of the Maroons.

“We need Deonte to score for us,” Moline head coach Sean Taylor. “He missed some early shots, but then he got it going.”

Plainfield East took a 30-24 lead into halftime, but Moline controlled the second half of play.

The Maroons used a 13-4 run to start the third quarter.

However, Plainfield East fought back with an 8-2 run to end the third period, holding a 42-39 lead.

With 3:19 to play in regulation, Maroons guard Nolan Griffin hit his second of back to back 3-pointers to give Moline a 53-46 lead.

Moline outscored Plainfield East 24-9 in the final period to punch its ticket to the second round of the tournament.

Billups led the Maroons with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

Drew Wiemers (16 points), Griffin (12 points) and Nate Hurt (11 points) were all in double figures for Moline as well.

In defeat, Tarello scored 18 points for the Bengals. Justin Smith (10 points) was the only other player for Plainfield East in double digits.

Moline will play Morton in the second round at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Plainfield East will meet Champaign Centennial at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the consolation portion of the tournament.


Lanphier survives first round scare

The No. 2-seed Lanphier Lions survived a potential upset in the first round of the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament Tuesday, beating Limestone 79-57.

Limestone’s Caleb Barber was hot early, scoring 22 of his game high 28 points in the first half.

Lanphier struggled offensively in the first half, but took a 31-28 lead into halftime. 

The Lions heated up in the second half, outscoring the Rockets 48-29 in the final 16 minutes of play.

“We came out a little flat and the guys were able to get it together and be resilient,” Lanphier head coach Blake Turner said. “I thought we did a good job in the second half and I’m really proud how they came out in the second half.”

Yaakema Rose led Lanphier with 19 points, while Cardell McGee (18 points), Corrington Jones (14 points) and Will Boles (12 points) were all in double digits.

Along with Barber, Set Kizer was also in double figures for the Rockets with 12 points.

Lanphier advances to face Hersey in the second round, while Limestone will play Peoria High in the consolation bracket.


Hersey holds off Peoria High

A 17 point lead with five minutes to go in the first round of the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament was nearly not enough for Arlington Heights Hersey to advance to the second round.

The Huskies warded off a furious run by Peoria High to escape with a 65-63 win.

The Lions had an opportunity to tie the game with .6 seconds left after Eryon Byrd was fouled on a 3-point attempt, sending him to the line with the Lions trailing 65-62. The senior missed two of three and the Lions couldn’t convert a putback to force overtime. 

Peoria went on a 15-4 run in just over three minutes in the final frame to turn a 56-39 deficit into a 60-54 deficit. 

Deandrey Robinson led Peoria with 23 points and Cortez Mosely added 14 points.

Hersey had four players in double figures, led by Joe Caffaro’s 17-point performance on a 5-of-30 day.

The teams combined for 29 turnovers in the game.


Buchanan powers United Township to second round

The top-seeded United Township East Moline Panthers rolled to a 66-33 victory over Chicago Mount Carmel in the first round of the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament.

Traveon Buchanan, who verbally committed, but did not sign with Division I University of North Daktota, scored 17 first-quarter points for the Panthers on the way to a 24-8 lead after the first quarter.

The Panthers didn’t let up in the second quarter, carrying a 42-13 lead into halftime.

Buchanan finished with 28 points and DeAnte Walker (11) and Izaya Sims (10) each scored in double figures for United Township.

No Mt. Carmel player scored in double figures.


Normal West defense pushes Wildcats to second round

Sophomore Francis Okoro powered the Normal West Wildcats to the second round with a 45-39 win over Lake Zurich Tuesday night.

In the first half, Okoro had nine rebounds and two points, but used his 6-foot-9 frame to keep the Lake Zurich offense out of the paint. The Wildcats' perimeter defenders responded with strong defense of their own.

"We did a good job," Normal West coach Brian Cupples said. "We knew they could put four guys on the perimeter who could shoot the ball. I thought our guards and our wings did a great job of covering up the perimeter and Francis did a great job controlling the paint."

Okoro led Normal West with 13 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks.

The Wildcats got out to a 22-9 lead with 1:18 left in the first half, and led 24-12 at halftime.

The Bears, powered by 22 points from sharpshooter Ryan Kustor, drew within nine points entering the final frame. 

Kustor had 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, pulling Lake Zurich as close as five points with just under two minutes left in the game.

"We weren't bad defensively in the fourth quarter, but Kustor hit some deep shots," Cupples said. "Really they're bad shots in the flow of a game, but good shots when you're down. Give him credit, he had to throw them up there."

Normal West led from start to finish in the game.

"The first half may have been our best execution and team play all year," Cupples said. "To hold a team like that to 12 (first half) points, that's a good win."