Pinckneyville boys wrap up conference title with Senior Night win over Nashville

Grant Jausel draws contact from Nashville's Cameron Parker, leading to the decisive free throw in Saturday's game. (Doug Daniels Photo)

By Doug Daniels

1351sports.com / pinckneyvillesports.com

February 11, 2018

  (Anna, Ill.) - Another game, another nail-biter for the Pinckneyville Panthers boys basketball team. Ever since sophomore guard Dawson Yates went down to a hip injury at the O'Fallon Shootout back on February 2, all four of PCHS's games have come down to the final minute, and Saturday night's 52-51 Senior Night win over Nashville was no different.
  The Hornets cut a 4-point Panther lead down to one on Carson Parker's three-pointer with 24.5 seconds to go. Two seconds later, PCHS's Grant Jausel was fouled and made both free throws to make it 51-48. Both teams then turned it over - quickly - on their next possession, giving Parker the opportunity to tie the game on another long ball, and he did so with just over ten seconds remaining in the fourth.
  He may have given the Panthers too much time to answer. Jausel got the ball on the baseline, drew contact from Cameron Parker, and headed to the free throw line with 2.3 seconds on the game clock.
  "We worked on it this week, we did exactly what we wanted to do," said Pinckneyville head coach Bob Waggoner, "got the ball to who we wanted to have it, and did exactly what we worked on. It was ironic. We did it with 30 (seconds), 15 and 10, did different scenarios with it. Our guys ran it exactly the way we wanted it and got the ball in Jausel's hands."
Nashville coach Wayne Harre was visibly upset with the way things transpired, but later said "We're trying to play defense, trying to play straight up. It is what it is, (the official) thought we made contact."

  Jausel missed the first free throw, but hit the second to give the Panthers the lead. The Hornets got a decent look after two long passes, but couldn't convert. Jausel's free throw completed a stretch where Pinckneyville made 7-of-8 at the line in the final 1:05 of the game.
  "We got it to the right people to knock them down," said Waggoner. "But I thought the big difference was our ability to take care of the ball, come down each time and get good looks. We missed some easy shots early, but we had a lot of quality possessions."
  Jausel finished the night with a game-high 25, giving him 54 points in the Panthers' two games on Friday and Saturday. He's averaging over 23 points per game since Yates went down at O'Fallon.
  "He's had to (step up), and our guys understand the role of it," Waggoner said. "We're playing well around him, I think Tyler Rice has played well around him. Hunter Clark is getting healthy now. We're getting some guys at the right time to weather the storm without Dawson."
  Rice was also in double figures, accomplishing that feat for the second night in a row with his 12 points. 
  "He's had a great attitude, been a hard worker, and really matured as a young man," Waggoner said of Rice. "It's been fortunate to watch him over the last four years, how much he's grown as a person and as a player. He's taken that leadership and responsibility to another level these last couple weeks."

PCHS senior boys basketball players pictured with their parents are (L to R) Dustin Bartnicki, Hunter Clark, Grant Jausel, Kyle Kreger, Kyle Luke, J.C. Moll, Tyler Rice, and Tanner Spihlmann. (Dan Herbst/PCHS Photo)

  The Panthers were in control early, jumping out to an 18-12 lead through one quarter, but the Hornets had closed to within a bucket at half with PCHS up 25-23 heading to the break. Pinckneyville led by as many as seven in the third, but just couldn't put Nashville away without a fight.
  The Hornets shot a blistering 62% from the field for the game. The Panthers' 90% performance at the charity stripe (19-for-21) helped make up for the fact that they shot just 44% on field goals.
  Devin Kitchen (6 points), J.C. Moll (5), Kyle Luke (2) and Tanner Spihlmann (2) also scored for Pinckneyville. Luke led PCHS in rebounds with 9 and also dished out a team-high 3 assists.
  The victory wrapped up the outright championship of the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference Mississippi Division for the Panthers (25-3, 9-0), and locked the Hornets (20-7, 7-2) into second place. Pinckneyville finishes up their regular season at Carterville this coming Friday night.
  IHSA postseason pairings were announced this past Friday. 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.

Panther Senior Cheerleaders (L to R) Dakota Hubler, Hannah Porter, and Emily Shanklin with their parents; Grant Jausel was recognized for his 1000th career point for the Panthers scored last week against DuQuoin, and was awarded a commemorative basketball. He is pictured with his parents Darwin and Chawn Jausel. (Dan Herbst/PCHS Photos)

(Game photos below by Doug Daniels/PinckneyvilleSports.com)

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