PBL boys basketball claims SVC championship with win over state-ranked Cissna Park

PAXTON -- As Paxton-Buckley-Loda junior Trey VanWinkle put it, his boys basketball team's 48-44 win over the No. 2-ranked Class 1A team in Cissna Park was "the best way to end the regular season."
"We didn’t want it any other way," VanWinkle said. “That is a very good team. That’s a very good win for us. That’s a tough team to beat, and we had a great team effort tonight.”
With the win, the Panthers earned the Sangamon Valley Conference regular-season championship for the second time in three years -- and, according to head coach Adam Schonauer, just the 10th time in school history.
“They’re hard to win, so you’ve got to enjoy it," Schonauer said. "That’s something those guys will have forever. It’s part of their legacy. I’m happy for these guys. They worked hard and earned it tonight against a really good basketball team. It wasn’t just given to them."
It was a trey by VanWinkle that gave PBL (18-9, 6-0 SVC) a 37-35 lead with 5:12 remaining in the game. 
“My teammates were getting me open," VanWinkle said. "We were hitting shots, and we were scoring.”
The Panthers went into the final quarter with a 31-29 lead, but Cissna Park (25-4, 5-1) went on a 6-0 run as Christian Stadeli made game-tying and go-ahead baskets before Julian Stadeli made two free thrwos with 6:47 remaining.
PBL junior Dalton Busboom then made a 3-pointer to cut his team's deficit to 35-34 with 5:55 left in the game. Following VanWinkle's trey, Busboom drained another shot from beyond the arc to extend the Panthers' lead to 40-35 with 4:20 remaining.
“We did a great job there. When they took the lead, we responded by moving the basketball and creating open shots with our ball movement and knocked them down," Schonauer said.
After Bailey Sluis made a 3-pointer with 3:32 left in the game and Christian Stadeli made 1-of-2 shots from the charity stripe with 2:04 remaining to cut Cissna Park's deficit to 40-39, senior Mason Ecker scored on a driving layup to extend PBL's lead to 42-39.
Ecker made another driving layup on a transition off a Conner Lober missed shot to make the score 44-39 with 1:34 remaining.
“Mason had probably two of the biggest baskets of the whole season going in the lane and over the two Stadeli twins and finishing high off the glass," Schonauer said. "That just gave us a little bit of a cushion to hold on.”
Ecker had two chances to extend the lead at the free-throw line. Though he missed the front end of both 1-and-1 opportunities with 1:10 and 42.9 seconds remaining, the latter shot, whihc followed a missed shot by Sluis with 54 seconds left in the game, was set up by drawing Keegan Boyle's fifth foul.
“We were just trying to get the ball moving and get them off balance. We were trying to get the bigs on the guards and trying to get a mismatch with posts and on their guards and kind of going around and giving them foul trouble," Ecker said.
Christian Stadeli made two free throws to cut Cissna Park's deficit to 44-41 with 23.4 seconds left in the game before VanWinkle drained two foul shots less than two seconds later. A 3-pointer by Brian Fehr cut the Timberwolves' deficit to 46-44 with 13.4 seconds remaining before senior Austin Gooden made two free throws with 11.7 seconds left in the game to extend PBL's lead to 48-44. 
The Panthers held Cissna Park to a single-digit scoring total in the first quarter as they went into the second quarter leading 13-8.
“We played really good defense," Ecker said. "It might have been the best defense we’ve played all year.”
Following a basket by Julian Stadeli, senior Andrew Swanson -- one of five seniors starting on PBL's senior night -- made a game-tying basket before Ecker scored a go-ahead bucket and tallying two more points via fastbreak layup off a steal to extend the Panthers' lead to 6-2.
Christian Stadeli made a basket to end the 6-0 run before Gooden and Julian Stadeli exchanged buckets to make the score 8-6. A steal by Busboom then led to a 3-pointer by junior Drake Schrodt before Schrodt made a steal of his own to set up a basket by senior Tanner Coe as Coe scored on an offensive-rebound putback via a missed layup by Ecker.
Coe's putback extended PBL's lead to 13-6 before a basket by Julian Stadeli cut the Timberwolves' deficit to 13-8 as the first quarter came to an end.
Colton Coy scored off an inbound pass from Sam Penicook to extend PBL's lead to 15-8 before baskets by Christian Stadeli and Julian Stadeli -- who finished the game with 19 and 13 points, respectively -- cut Cissna Park's deficit to 15-12. After VanWinkle made two free throws with 5:53 left in the second quarter, a basket by Christian Stadeli made the score 17-14.
A basket by Penicook was followed by buckets by Lober and Christian Stadeli that cut the Timberwolves' deficit to 19-18. VanWinkle then stole the ball and raced to the opposite basket for a fastbreak layup before Schrodt drained a 3-pointer with 1:49 left in the first half to extend PBL's lead to 24-18. 
A basket by Christian Stadeli cut Cissna Park's halftime deficit to 24-20.
Both teams would be held scoreless for the first 3 1/2 minutes of a third quarter in which PBL once again held the Timberwolves to a single-digit point total.
The defensive effort was especially impressive, Schonauer said, when considering that Cissna Park went into Friday's game having scored more than 60 points in its previous three contests, including a 73-64 win on Feb. 9 over a Bloomington Central Catholic team that was selected for a top seed as it gets ready to play in the 2A Stanford Olympia Regional.
“That’s a really good basketball team. For us to come out and be able to hold them to 44 points is tough to do because they’re a veteran team," Schonauer said. "They can beat you inside and outside. They have multiple weapons, and the only way you’re going to guard that is by playing as hard as you can for 32 minutes, and that was what we did tonight. We played really hard and tried to take away as much we could and competed as hard as we could.”
The Panthers, meanwhile, went into Friday's game coming off a loss to another top-seeded team in St. Joseph-Ogden, which will play in the 2A Broadlands Heritage Regional.
“That was a great win for our team against a really good Cissna Park basketball team," Schonauer said. "I loved the way our guys came back and responded after Tuesday night, when we didn’t really feel like we played very well. We played hard (on Friday) and played with a complete 32 minutes of effort tonight.”
Christian Stadeli made a basket as he was fouled by Gooden with 4:18 left in the third quarter. He missed his ensuing free throw attempt, but Julian Stadeli then scored on a putback to tie the game at 24-24. 
Ecker then made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter. After Julian Stadeli tallied a foul shot with 3:53 left in the quarter, VanWinkle made a basket to extend PBL's lead to 29-25.
Sluis made a 3-pointer and a free throw to tie the game at 29-29 before VanWinkle made another fastbreak layup after another steal to give the Panthers a 31-29 lead with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
Both teams would be held scoreless for the rest of the quarter in front of what Schonauer said was "a great crowd."
"Thanks to the community and our student section. Cissna Park brought a great crowd. That was a great environment for a high school basketball game," Schonauer said.
VanWinkle finished the game leading PBL in scoring with 13 while Ecker also scored in double figures with 11 points as nine Panthers got on the scoreboard.
“A lot of people scored," VanWinkle said. "That’s kind of how we play.”
Busboom and Schrodt each contributed six points for PBL while Gooden had four points and Coe, Penicook, Coy and Swanson each had two points.
“I think, overall, all of us scored pretty well," Ecker said. "That’s what happens when there’s not one person getting the ball. It frees it up a little bit.”
The Panthers hope their upset victory can give them some momentum as they go into the 2A Oakwood Regional with a No. 2 seed. 
“It’s good. It gives us a confidence booster knowing that we can go in and beat anybody on any given day," Ecker said.
They will face either No. 8 Salt Fork or No. 9 Hoopeston Area in the regional semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“As a coaching staff, we believe in these guys so much. We really think we’ve got a good basketball team, but I don’t know if our players have had the confidence and belief in themselves throughout the year, and we’ve struggled against really good basketball teams," Schonauer said. "It was definitely more mental than physical, and so we hope we can ride this momentum and they can continue to play with this confidence. Hopefully, this win puts some belief in their minds that they can compete with some of the best teams in the state.”
Junior varsity
The Paxton-Buckley-Loda junior varsity boys basketball team won 38-35 Friday over Cissna Park.
Gavin Coplea had six first-quarter points while Brandon Knight had three points and Jarred Gronsky had two points. The Panthers outscored Cissna Park 8-4 in the second quarter to take a 19-15 lead into halftime as Gronsky had four points and Busboom and Knight each had two points.
In the third quarter, PBL outscored the Timberwolves 10-9 as Gronsky and Brett Giese each had three points while Copea and Mason Medlock each had two points.
Busboom had three points in the fourth quarter while Giese, Coplea and Corey DeGarmo each had two points.
Coplea finished the game with 10 points while Gronsky had nine points and Busboom, Giese and Knight each had five points. DeGarmo and Medlock each contributed two points.
PBL 48, Cissna Park 44
CP 8   12  9  15  -- 44
PBL 13  11  7  17  -- 48
Cissna Park (25-4, 5-1)
Conner Lober 1-0-2, Keegan Boyle 0-0-0, Bailey Sluis 2-1-7, Brian Fehr 1-0-3, Ian Rogers 0-0-0, Julian Stadeli 5-3-13, Christian Stadeli 8-3-19. Totals 17-7-44.
PBL (18-9, 6-0)
Tanner Coe 1-0-2, Trey VanWinkle 4-4-13, Drake Schrodt 2-0-6, Mason Ecker 5-0-11, Sam Penicook 1-0-2, Colton Coy 1-0-2, Austin Gooden 1-2-4, Kyle Poll 0-0-0, Dalton Busboom 2-0-6, Andrew Swanson 1-0-2, Alex Rueck 0-0-0, Jake Rich 0-0-0. Totals 18-6-48.
3-pointers -- Cissna Park 3 (Sluis 2, Fehr). PBL 6 (Busboom 2, Schrodt 2, VanWinkle, Ecker).
PBL 38, Cissna Park 35
CP 12  4  9  10  -- 35
PBL 11  8 10  9   -- 38
Cissna Park
Hull 1-0-3, Sluis 0-1-1, Savoree 1-0-3, Stoller 2-6-10, Kaeb 0-0-0, Verkler 8-0-16, Garrison 1-0-2. Totals 13-7-35.
Jarred Gronsky 4-0-9, Mason Bruns 0-0-0, Keagan Busboom 2-0-5, Drew Diesburg 0-0-0, Gavin Coplea 4-1-10, Brett Giese 1-2-5, Mason Medlock 1-0-2, Corey DeGarmo 0-2-2, Brandon Knight 2-1-5. Totals 14-6-38.
3-pointers -- Cissna Park 2 (Hull, Savoree). PBL 4 (Gronsky, Busboom, Coplea, Giese).


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