Panthers pull away for blowout wins over Sparta, Althoff

Pinckneyville's players wore "We Are Marshall" t-shirts during warmups to show their support for the victims of the recent tragedy at Marshall County High School. (Doug Daniels Photos and Video)

By Doug Daniels
1351sports.com / pinckneyvillesports.com

January 28, 2018

  (Sparta & Pinckneyville, Ill.) - The Panthers took it to Class 3A Belleville Althoff on Saturday at the 2018 Panther Showcase in Pinckneyville, outscoring the Crusaders 19-7 over the last six-plus minutes of the game to pull away for a 75-50 victory, their 22nd of the season.
  "They're a physical, athletic team," said PCHS head coach Bob Waggoner. "I thought our guys passed the ball well, took advantage of them over-playing. We got a lot of good shots. Their pressure sped us up a little bit, but I thought we adjusted well. Didn't turn it over, and defensively, I thought we did a great job of rebounding the ball and keeping them off the glass. We attacked both ends tonight. We didn't play timid and were the aggressor. I was very proud of our effort on both ends."
  PCHS never trailed, taking control after the opening tipoff with a 9-0 run to start the game. It started with a free throw line jumper by Devin Kitchen, then a transition layup by Kyle Luke off a blocked shot by Tanner Sphilmann, a three from Grant Jausel, then a stick-back by Spihlmann.
  Jausel's second three of the night less than a minute into the second quarter made it 24-9 Panthers. After Althoff had closed to within seven, PCHS pulled away again, and Jausel's third triple came just before the halftime buzzer to send Pinckneyville into the break up 41-23.
  "They switched up, they went from having a big lineup to a small lineup," Waggoner said. "They started pressuring us a little bit. We got lost in transition a couple times. At the same time, our kids adjusted, we changed a couple things to help us match a little bit better. I really think they weren't prepared for the speed of the game which we were going to play back at them, which created a lot of easy shots."

  Jausel finished the night with 17 points, one shy of the team-high by J.C. Moll who had 18. Jausel now needs just 25 more points to reach the 1,000-point milestone for his high school career. 
  Althoff never got it under ten after the break and trailed 56-43 with just under seven minutes to play when PCHS made one final run to put it away. Dawson Yates, a 6'1 sophomore, put the exclamation point on the win for the Panthers with a breakaway slam dunk to completed an 8-0 run for Pinckneyville over the course of the final three minutes.
  "I didn't expect that one," Waggoner said of Yates' jam. "He just kind of galloped up there and pounded it. Not bad for a sophomore, he's 15 years old."
  Yates (11 points) and Kitchen (10) joined Moll and Jausel in double figures for the Panthers. Spihlmann added 8 points, Luke and Tyler Rice each had 4, and Grant Tanner finished with 3. Spihlmann and Luke each grabbed 5 rebounds to share the team lead, Yates led assists with 7, and Moll topped steals with 4.

  The 5:00 p.m. game of the Panther Showcase was originally scheduled to be between Centralia and Marshall County, but do to the recent tragedy at Marshall County High School, the Marshals did not compete. PCHS accepted donations at the Showcase, and players wore "We Are Marshall" t-shirts during warm-ups to show their support.
  "Just a great day for our community and the people coming in here, close to $3200 in donations to give to (Marshall County)," said Waggoner. "It just says a lot about how much people care and how this hits home with so many different people. You're not going to make up for the loss there, but you can try to help and this is just one way of doing it."
  Pinckneyville (22-2) travels to O'Fallon on Friday night to participate in the Bank of O'Fallon Shootout against Whitfield (St. Louis) at 8:30 p.m. The Panthers then return home on Saturday night to host Du Quoin.

Pinckneyville 64, Sparta 30 (01/26/18):
  The Panthers picked up a conference road win on Friday night at Sparta, routing the Bulldogs 64-30 on 58% shooting from the field.
  Moll (15 points), Jausel (14) and Kitchen (10) each finished in double figures for PCHS. Spihlmann added 9 points, Rice, Luke, Tanner and Yates each had 4.

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© 2018-19 Doug Daniels Photography