Max Jones scored nearly half of the Pekin boys basketball team’s points Friday night against Washington.
The 6-foot-1 junior tossed in 20 points to lead the visiting Dragons to a 43-32 victory in Torry Gym in a Mid-Illini Conference game. Jones was 7-for-11 from the field including an impressive 6-for-9 on triples.
“Hopefully, this was a break-out game for Max,” said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven. “He’s had a few 2-for-7, 4-for-10 nights.
“His shots (against Washington) were within our offense. Our guys found him and he was ready to shoot. Max had some big 3’s that quelled Washington’s momentum.”
Pekin (4-5, 3-1) led Washington most of the night, moving ahead for good 8-6 at the end of the first quarter. It was 22-12 at halftime and 33-19 after three quarters.
“We played well defensively in long stretches,” Walraven said. “Washington got most of their points in the fourth quarter by attacking the basket.”
Washington scored in double digits only in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers weren’t able to cut substantially into the deficit.
“Our offense bailed us out in the fourth quarter,” Walraven said.
Washington shot just 29 percent from the field (10-for-35) for the game including 2-for-10 on three’s.
This was the second straight Mid-Illini game that Pekin’s defense stepped up. The Dragons held Canton to 18 percent shooting (8-for-45) in a 46-23 win Dec. 8.
Pekin’s Tyler Durr scored nine points against Washington and Patrick Torrey had seven points for the Dragons, who shot 50 percent from the field (16-for-32). Durr and Torrey were each 3-for-5. Adam Cash grabbed five rebounds for Pekin.
Pekin was just 4-for-12 at the free throw line, however, and missed all of its fourth-quarter attempts. Washington was 10-for-15 on free throws for the game.
Rickey Woods scored 11 points for the Panthers and Gus Lucas had 10. Drew Lewis had eight points for Washington, which is 1-3 in the Mid-Illini.
Pekin has played nine games this season. Five have been in Torry Gym. The Dragons participated in the season-opening Tournament of Champions at Washington, playing four games in five days over Thanksgiving week.
“We’ve gotten used to the place,” Walraven said.
Next for Pekin is a Mid-Illini showdown this coming Friday at home in Hawkins Gym against Metamora (6-2, 3-1).
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.