Hillcrest hosted a strong Pekin squad on Virtual Alumni Night Friday, and the Panthers used a 24-2 third quarter to blitz the Ravens 61-33. Pekin, who brings back a lot from their 2020 Substate team, raced to a 17-6 lead early, only to see Hillcrest respond to close the margin at 20-14 at the quarter. The Ravens scored first to make it 20-16 before the Panthers would get separation to build a 30-19 lead at intermission.
Aaron Hershberger connected on a pair of free throws to get the Ravens on the scoreboard to begin the third quarter to make it 30-21 before the bottom fell out for the Ravens. Hillcrest would not score again until midway through the fourth quarter, as the Panthers went on an incredible 28-0 run to lead 56-21 with over six minutes to play.
Eli Ours led Hillcrest, scoring 21 points, including five threes, and had three assists and two steals. Aaron Hershberger pulled down six rebounds. Coach Dwight Gingerich said “Pekin really got after it in that second half stretch, and we helped them out with unforced turnovers that led to easy baskets. All of a sudden the hole was big, as at the same time we simply could not get the ball in the basket. I appreciated that our guys finally got it turned around, though obviously too late. We’ve got a lot of things to correct, and hopefully we can clean things up sooner rather than later.”
The loss drops Hillcrest to 2-4 on the season, heading into the break, and the Highland game has been postponed to January 16.