Rebounding is an important part of basketball. So is rebounding from a loss.

The Pekin girls and boys teams each lost Tuesday. The girls team dropped a 43-39 decision at home to Mid-Illini Conference rival Canton. The boys team lost 52-37 to Chatham Glenwood on the road.

Losing close games has become a headache for the girls team.

“We just can’t close out a tight game in the fourth quarter,” Pekin girls coach Brett McGinnis said Wednesday, before the Dragons met small-school power Midwest Central on Thursday in Hawkins Gym.

Giving up a lead down the stretch in three games led to Pekin taking an 2-8 overall record into its matchup with Midwest Central. The Dragons are 0-4 in the Mid-Illini, but could be 2-2.

“We have the talent. We just need the experience of how to win close games. We have some growing pains with a young team,” McGinnis said.

Turnovers at crucial times have been an issue for Pekin. They were against Canton (6-3).

Ahead by three points (39-36) with 50 seconds left, the Dragons saw their lead dip to one point when the Little Giants converted an offensive rebound into a basket.

A Pekin turnover led to a 3-pointer that put Canton in front for good. Another Pekin turnover forced the Dragons to foul, and Canton made two free throws for some insurance points.

Pekin led Canton 33-32 after three quarters but was outscored 11-6 in the fourth quarter.

Taylor Goss led the Dragons with 17 points. The sophomore had four 3-pointers. Lauren Juergens added eight points and Gracie Kizer had six.

Tori Oaks had a dozen points for Canton and Cassidy Fawcett had 11.

The Pekin boys team ran into a strong outfit in Chatham Glenwood (5-1). 

“They’re good, and they do a lot of good things,” said Dragons coach Jeff Walraven. “We played decently in the first quarter (Glenwood led 13-12), then we didn’t play well the rest of the game. We fell into some bad habits.”

Pekin shot only four free throws in the game, all by Patrick Torrey.

“Glenwood controlled the lane. They were able to be physical without fouling,” Walraven said.

Torrey had 11 points and Justin Taphorn had 10 for Pekin. Max Jones tossed in eight points for the Dragons (3-6, 2-1), who will be on the road Friday to face Mid-Illini opponent Washington (3-5, 1-2).

Luke Lehnen had 18 points for Glenwood, including four 3-pointers. University of Illinois-Springfield recruit Bradyn Kilby had 13 points.

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.