Pekin withstands late charge, takes league win at East Peoria

Bryan Veginski
East Peoria senior Mitch Gnehm had five points Friday for the boys basketball team in a 59-42 Mid-Illini Conference loss at Dunlap. The Raiders are scheduled to play twice in the final week of the regular season.

Two bad quarters Friday relegated the East Peoria boys basketball team to a loss at Dunlap.

The Eagles outscored the visiting Raiders 33-11 in the second and third periods to win a 59-42 Mid-Illini Conference decision.

Jakob Burtis and Benett Crim had nine points apiece to co-lead East Peoria.

Ryan Slusher and Karson Buckley both provided six points for the Raiders, who were on top 14-13 after eight minutes.

Dunlap, which still can finish as high as third place in the league, swept the season series from East Peoria.

Alex Sorenson’s 16 points topped the Eagles.

Pekin 43, EP 41

The Raiders Saturday came the closest they have all season to winning an M-I game.

But Pekin dampened the Senior Night of East Peoria (4-20, 0-13) by capturing its second victory in a row in the conference.

Kieran Buckley had 11 points, on 9-of-9 free-throw shooting, to guide the Raiders.

Sean Mulhern’s three 3-pointers gave him nine points.

Karson Buckley chipped in seven points for the home team and Slusher six.

The teams played to a 24-24 tie in the second half after the Dragons gained a slim lead at intermission.

Mason Carr’s 12 points for Pekin were a game-high figure.

Postseason: East Peoria is the No. 5 seed in the Class 3A Manual Regional.

The Raiders will face fourth-seeded Morton at 6 p.m. Monday in the quarterfinals.

It will be the second year in a row East Peoria and the Potters have met in the regular-season finale and played again in the postseason opener.

The winner advances to play top-seeded Limestone in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Washington-Central quarterfinal winner will greet No. 2 seed Manual in the other Tuesday semifinal.

The regional title game occurs at 7 p.m. March 7.