After six games on the road to start the season, the Pekin girls basketball team is finally home.
The Dragons’ home and Mid-Illini Conference opener will be Friday. Pekin (2-4) and Dunlap (4-0) will tip off at about 7 p.m. in Hawkins Gym.
Dunlap, led by sixth-year coach Heather Cassady, won the Limestone Thanksgiving Tournament for the second straight season. The Eagles beat the host Rockets 50-35 for the title Nov. 21 behind 13 points from Elle Sutter and 12 points from Ellie Sorensen.
“Dunlap is playing well,” said first-year Pekin coach Brett McGinnis. “It will be a challenge to protect our home floor against them.”
Speaking of challenges, the Dragons sure faced one Tuesday. They lost 51-24 at Normal West.
“Normal West was by far the best team we’ve played this season,” McGinnis said. “They are very, very, very talented. But, we also could have done a better job in practice preparing for a team like that.”
Tresoir Newson scored 14 points and Averie Hernandez had 10 points for Normal West (4-1), which was a tri-champion of the 40th annual Intercity Tournament between the five Bloomington and Normal teams.
Normal West, Normal Community and Bloomington Central Catholic all went 3-1 in the tournament, with Normal West losing to Central Catholic 64-37 in its tournament opener.
Normal West’s first Intercity Tournament title since 2000 featured a 56-40 win over defending tournament champion Normal Community on Nov. 17.
Taylor Goss was Pekin’s leading scorer against Normal West with eight points.
“Taylor played with the most confidence of any of our players against them,” McGinnis said about the sophomore.
Tuesday was Goss’ 16th birthday. It also was the 16th birthday for her friend Morgan Haynes, who plays on the Pekin sophomore girls basketball team.
They weren’t born in the same hospital, but they were born in the same city. Goss was born at UnityPoint Health Methodist and Haynes at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, both in Peoria.
Pekin went 2-3 in the round-robin Macomb Thanksgiving Tournament from Nov. 12-17 before facing Normal West.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 224-2616. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.