Two wins. Two losses. Two injuries.

That tells the Pekin boys basketball team’s roller-coaster tale in the 54th annual Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament.

The Dragons lost 65-55 to Lake Zurich in Hawkins Gym on Thursday night in their first-round game and lost starter Max Jones to a foot injury.

Relegated to the tournament’s consolation bracket and sent downstairs to Custer-Stoudt Gym on Friday, Pekin responded positively.

The Dragons beat Freeport 60-51 in the afternoon despite trailing by 13 points late in the third quarter and losing starter Justin Taphorn to an ankle injury, and toppled Normal West 54-43 at night to advance to the consolation championship game. 

That game was played Saturday afternoon in Hawkins Gym. Peoria Richwoods beat the Dragons 68-54.

“We played well defensively and made our opponents uncomfortable in our two tournament wins,” said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven. “But in our two losses, we didn’t execute offensively or defensively consistently at the level we can play, so that was disappointing.”

What wasn’t disappointing over the three-day tournament was the play of Patrick Torrey, the Dragons’ 6-foot-7 senior center, who was named to the 12-player all-tournament team and recorded the first dunk of his career.

Sophomore guard Adam Cash also stepped up big time in the absence of his injured teammates.

“Adam made some huge shots and was strong with the ball,” Walraven said.

Many others made contributions for the Dragons. Among them were Ryan Collier, Brady Grashoff, Tyler Durr and Cooper Theleritis.

Those contributions must continue for Pekin (6-9) to be successful when the season resumes. Walraven said it appears Jones and Taphorn will be out for a few weeks.

Pekin started strong against Richwoods. 

The Dragons led 16-8 after the first quarter, but Richwoods outscored Pekin 20-9 in the second quarter and was in front 28-25 at halftime. The Knights put the game away with a 24-15 advantage in the fourth quarter.

“We made some shots and got some stops against Richwoods in the first quarter,” Walraven said. “But we had some possessions that led to turnovers in the second quarter and missed some free throws.

“We had more turnovers in the second half. It seemed like of all our turnovers led to scores. Richwoods has good athletes who make you pay for mistakes.”

Torrey (17 points, five rebounds), Cash (14 points) and Theleritis (13 points) led the way for Pekin. Jaydion Davis had 23 points and Cortez Mosley had 20 points for Richwoods, including a handful of run-out dunks.

 

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