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PAXTON – With 7.1 second remaining in the first half of Paxton-Buckley-Loda’s Friday nonconference contest against Teutopolis, Parker Young made a free throw to cut PBL’s deficit to 35-12.
The way some members PBL’s student cheering section – known as the “Blue Crew” – celebrated the free throw, one might have thought Young made a 24-point shot to tie the game. According to “Blue Crew” participant Andy Thompson, however, the cheers were merely in support of a fan favorite.
“We just think (Young’s) really cool,” Thompson said.
Reasons to cheer were scarce for the “Blue Crew,” as PBL was simply no match for the No. 5-ranked Class 2A team in Teutopolis. The Wooden Shoes left Paxton with a 66-27 and PBL with what head coach Scot Vogel said he hopes was a valuable experience.
“T-Town, year-in and year-out, is one of the top programs in the state of Illinois,” Vogel said. “I think it’s good for us to play teams like that and see the subtle little things they do that make them a great program. We’ve been pretty successful here a little bit, and we’ve just got to realize that it’s always the little things that you do that make the difference. I think games like that are good for you. When you have a high-quality program like that, it just makes you better. Right now, we’re getting focused for the end of the season and things like that. Hopefully, these things will make us better – by playing teams like this night-in and night-out.”
Teutopolis (19-3) ran away with the victory not just in terms of the game being a blowout, but in a literal sense as well.
After Tyler Rubarts nailed a 3-pointer to initiate the scoring and put PBL up 3-0, Jared Waldhoff stole the ball for T-Town and turned the turnover into a fastbreak layup. That would set the tone for the day, as the Wooden Shoes used a transition offense to go on an 20-4 run to end the first quarter up 20-4.
Derek Smith followed Waldhoff’s fastbreak layup with a couple of baskets of his own and scored eight points in the first quarter.
“We go to the boards hard,” Teutopolis head coach Andy Fehrenbacher said. “We want to make sure we check out and get on the defensive boards and keep teams off the offensive glass. We were doing that, and then guys were recognizing that they had opportunities to run. We had a lot of guys filling lanes. Even our bigs were running the floor pretty hard. It made for some easy buckets.”
Vogel said Teutopolis’ easy buckets were set up by some inefficiency in PBL’s offense.
“Right now, we’re just fighting ourselves more than anything,” Vogel said. “A lot of their scores early in the game that really set the tone were off just a lack of execution on the offensive end. They got some easy runouts where we kind of forced the action versus just being patient with the offense and letting it happen. We’ve just got to be more patient.”
The offensive struggles continued into the second quarter for PBL (10-9) as the Wooden Shoes went on a 7-0 run to increase its lead to 27-7 with 4:21 left in the first half. The Panthers finished the second quarter with five points to go into halftime trailing 35-12.
They also scored a mere five points in the third quarter. Young made a free throw with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter to cut his team’s deficit to 45-15 – that was PBL’s first point of the quarter.
The Panthers went into the fourth quarter trailing 51-17. It was in the final quarter where Jay Eshleman showed some signs of life for PBL’s offense.
After being held scoreless during the first three quarters, Eshleman tallied PBL’s only 10 points in the fourth en route to getting the team-high in points.
“We didn’t help ourselves out by not shooting the ball, either,” Vogel said. “We hit that first 3-pointer, and then after that, we go for stretches without consecutive buckets or even a bucket. Jay finally came alive there a little bit in the last four minutes of the game, but it was too little, too late. It was just one of those things where we’ve just got to be better at putting the ball in the hole more consistently through all four quarters.”
Fehrenbacher said PBL’s offensive inefficiency was due partially to Teutopolis’ tall post players, including 6-foot-6 senior center Kyle Pruemer and 6-foot-4 freshman forward/center Brett Mette.
“Our length really frustrated them on the offensive end,” Fehrenbacher said. “You could tell that they were not comfortable with their jump shots. We rebounded very well. The size factor was heavily in our favor, and when that happens, there’s not much you can do. They tried to spread us out, to go some zone and do some various things. Those guys played hard. I’m proud of our team’s effort as well. We knew Paxton was a young team with a lot of juniors and sophomores. I know they only have two seniors on their team, so they’ve got a young team with not a whole lot of experience. Coach Vogel’s an excellent coach. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I knew he would have his guys prepared, but it was just one of those situations.”
The Panthers have little time to lament on lessons learned from its loss to Teutopolis as they host Prairie Central at 7:30 p.m. today.
“We’ve got a tough game tomorrow,” Vogel said. “We’ve got to put this one behind us and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play against a Prairie Central team that has a very good player in Addison Bounds kid. We’ve just got to make sure we do all the little things right and just continue to take steps forward.”
Following its game against Prairie Central, PBL will begin Sangamon Valley Conference Tournament play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Paxton as the No. 6 seed against No. 3 St. Thomas More.
The Panthers lost to the Sabers 55-46 in its Jan. 8 contest. If PBL can get revenge, it could face another rematch with No. 2 Cissna Park.
The Panthers lost an overtime contest to the Timberwolves 60-57 at home Jan. 22.
“I think games like (the T-Town one) prepare us for the tournament,” Vogel said. “We lost a tough game at St. Thomas More, and we open with them. That’s an opportunity for a revenge game. Hopefully, our kids understand that. We were talking to them about that, and we’ve got to make that we understand that. If we take care of that, we get a chance at another revenge game with CPCI. You just never know what happens. We’ve got to focus on one game at a time.”
The Panthers were also blown out Tuesday at Watseka by a score of 58-36. After trailing 13-11 heading into the second quarter, PBL scored only eight points in the second and third quarters each en route to trailing 26-19 at halftime and 42-27 after the third quarter.
Jeremy Walder led PBL with 12 points.
The Panthers’ junior varsity team lost to Teutopolis 46-38 Friday to fall to 12-4 on the year.
Nick Porter led PBL with 12 points while Hunter Weber added nine points.
The Panthers defeated Watseka 34-23 Tuesday.
Teutopolis 66, PBL 27
John Ungrund 0-0-0, Derek Smith 7-1-16, Jared Waldhoff 4-1-9, Tyler Windell 4-0-9, Cody Will 1-0-2, Reed Hardiek 2-0-6, Devin Falbe 1-0-2, Austin Goedde 0-0-0, Justin Kenter 1-0-2, Will Beck 0-0-0, Louis Niemerg 0-0-0, Rourke Schultz 2-0-4, Brett Mette 1-4-6, Ryan Sandschafer 0-2-2, Kyle Pruemer 4-0-8. Totals 27-8-66.
Vaughn Gentzler 0-0-0, Jay Eshleman 4-0-10, Tyler Rubarts 1-0-3, Weston Weber 1-0-2, Axl Denault 1-0-2, Jeremy Walder 1-0-2, Drew Schrodt 3-0-6, Parker Young 0-2-2, Kyler Swanson 0-0-0, Patrick Brown 0-0-0. Totals 11-2-27.
T-Town 20 15 16 15 — 66
PBL 7 5 5 10 — 27
3-pointers — Teutopolis 4 (Hardiek 2, Windell, Smith). PBL 3 (Eshleman 2, Rubarts).