Tigers finish strong against Oakdale to win Regional, move on to State Tournament

The #204 Tigers' players, coaches and cheerleaders pose with the Regional championship trophy on Monday. (Doug Daniels photos)

By Doug Daniels
1351sports.com / pinckneyvillesports.com

January 30, 2018

  (Tamaroa, Ill.) - Pinckneyville District #204 has advanced to the SIJHSAA Boys Basketball State Final Tournament in Class S, punching their ticket by defeating Oakdale in the championship of Monday's Tamaroa Regional, 50-33.
  It was a two-point game at halftime, but the Tigers dominated the second half, particularly the fourth quarter, where they outscored Oakdale 11-2.
  "We started playing defense," said #204 head coach Josh Plumlee. "Those (Oakdale) kids are excellent shooters, and they made some tough shots. I can't say enough about our defense. A few times we went under the screen which we should have went over the screen and showed high, but other than that our defense was good, we just had to weather the storm. We knew coming in they were a streaky team and can make a lot of baskets quick. You've just got to stick with the game plan and go with it, and we did, and it turned out in our favor."
  #204 led 12-7 after one period, and had extended that lead to nine at 20-11 midway through the second, but with sharp-shooting guard Trey Moll on the bench with three fouls, Oakdale started chipping away at the lead. By the break, Pinckneyville led by just two at 24-22.

  Oakdale took a brief lead in the third quarter on a three-pointer to start the half, but the Tigers would soon take charge. Dawson Wynn scored on a drive to the paint to spark a 7-0 spurt that put #204 back in front, with the other five points coming from Vaden Szczepanski, who led all scorers on the night with 28 points.
  Up by six at 37-31, #204 slammed the door on Oakdale by scoring 13 of the game's final 15 points. Szczepanski had the first six of those, beginning with a pull-up jumper to end the third quarter scoring. He added a steal and a fast-break lay-up moments later. Landon Millikin's three-point play with just under three minutes to go in the game put the Tigers up 48-31, and soon thereafter the celebration began.
  "They box-and-one'd Moll and kept him from getting his shots, but that opens up the middle for us," Plumlee said. "Pick your poison. It wasn't just Vaden, Millikin and Schuetz were in there and they couldn't do anything with them when they got touches in there. They did a great job inside, I was very proud of them. And I was very proud of Trey, on the defensive end especially. He didn't get a lot of shots, but he didn't let that affect the defense that he played."
  Millikin and Wynn each added 9 points apiece for Pinckneyville, and Issac Teel and Dylan Schuetz each finished with 2 points. Moll, Abel Runyon, Riley Maxey and Dawson Chaney all played but did not score.
  The Tigers (21-6) will play in the first round of the State Tournament at Rend Lake College this Saturday at 5:00 p.m. against Altatmont Lutheran.

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© 2018-19 Doug Daniels Photography