Wildcats start hot, but Panthers fight back to stay unbeaten in conference
Grant Jausel scored 29 points to lead Pinckneyville in their victory at Anna-Jonesboro on Friday night. (RIchard Sitler Photo)
By Doug Daniels
1351sports.com / pinckneyvillesports.com
February 10, 2018
(Anna, Ill.) - Pinckneyville was challenged for the third straight game, but was able to prevent Anna-Jonesboro from getting their 20th victory of the season on Friday night in Anna, coming from behind to win 74-67 behind 29 points from senior Grant Jausel.
The Wildcats were on fire in the first quarter, hitting five three-pointers, two of them by Jake Parr, and put up 28 points to lead by seven heading to the second. A-J made 9-of-11 from the field in the opening period as well as a 5-for-5 showing at the free throw line. The shooting cooled off in the second quarter, but the Wildcats still led 41-33 at the break.
Pinckneyville started their comeback as soon as they hit the floor in the second half. Tyler Rice laid in two points off a Wildcats turnover, then Devin Kitchen hit a layup and a three following a steal by Kyle Luke, and suddenly the Panthers were within a point. After an A-J timeout and a miss, Rice gave PCHS their first lead with a jumper and it was 42-41.
The game would stay close right up to the end. Noah McFarland put the 'Cats up 64-61 with 3:30 to go, but Jausel tied it 30 seconds later with a three ball.
Moll took a steal the distance with 2:30 to go to put the Panthers back out in front to stay. Luke followed with a give-and-go score from Tanner Spihlmann with 2:00 to go, and from there Jausel sealed the deal with four free throws.
Behind Jausel's big night, four other Pinckneyville players finished the night in double figures - Luke (12), Kitchen (10), Rice (10) and Moll (10). Kyle Kreger added 3 points for the Panthers, who improved to 24-3 overall, 8-0 in conference play, heading into Saturday night's showdown with the Nashville Hornets.
IHSA postseason pairings were announced on Friday, and the Panthers received the top seed in their Sub-Sectional, and will host their own Regional. PCHS will meet the winner of the Sparta-Trico quarterfinal game in the semifinals on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m.
(Richard Sitler Photos)