PINCKNEYVILLE — The Pinckneyville Panthers blew open a close game in the second quarter outscoring Anna-Jonesboro 17-4 to beat the Wildcats, 63-30, in a boys basketball game on Friday night.
"We won by 33, even though I thought we didn’t play very well on either end of the floor," said Pinckneyville coach Bob Waggoner. "I thought Anna had a great game plan and came in prepared to play. They out-toughed us a little bit early. We had some key guys not ready to play and we can’t have that. So we adjusted some things and talked about our effort and came out with a lot more energy."
Pinckneyville improved to 10-0 overall and 3-0 in the Mississippi to remain in a tie for the lead with Nashville (7-2, 3-0 Mississippi) while Anna-Jonesboro dropped to 8-3 overall and 1-2 to remain fourth in the conference standings.
Dawson Yates led the Panthers with 15 points and Grant Jausel finished with 11. Jake Parr was the leading scorer for the Wildcats with 11.
The Panthers defense was unrelenting, forcing the Wildcats into a bad shooting night from behind the arc making just 1-for-14.
"We just wore down," said Anna-Jonesboro coach Mike Chamness. "They play a lot of guys and try to wear you down with defense. All of our shots were tough shots."
The Panthers got off to a slow start falling behind 8-3 with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter and things seemed to get worse when Kyle Luke missed two free throws after a steal by Kyle Kreger a minute later.
"They did a nice job of making us make some plays we’re not used to and it really affected us," Waggoner said. "Early on guys missed shots and they let it affect their defense."
But the Wildcats had hit a slump after Parr scored on a pull-up jumper at the 4:25 mark and then had to leave the game with 1:32 remaining in the quarter after committing three consecutive fouls in a 56 second span.
When Parr left the game, the Wildcats held an 8-3 lead and when the senior returned at the beginning of the third quarter the Panthers led 22-12.
"They made us make mistakes," Chamness said. "We have to figure out how to not wear down and not make those mental mistakes."
Tyler Rice sank a layup with 29 seconds remaining to cut the lead to three and give the Panthers some momentum heading into the second quarter.
Kreger drained a 3-pointer at the 13 second mark of the second quarter to tie the game and after Tyler Smith missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for the Wildcats, Grant Tanner swished a 3 to give the Panthers its first lead since 3-2 at the 1:55 mark of the first quarter.
Sheldon McGrath then missed the front end again for the Wildcats and Dawson Yates made him pay by sinking a jumper from the right corner. Jacob Zimmerman snapped the run with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to four, but the Panthers responded with a 7-0 run on a jumper by Kyle Luke, two free throws by Yates, a free throw followed by a fast break layup by Jausel to extend the lead to 22-11 with 1:07 remaining in the half. Logan Sawyer split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 10 at halftime.
The third quarter was also a carbon copy of the second with the Panthers scoring the first seven points to take a 17-point lead just 1:57 in. The Wildcats cut the lead to 12 with 3:46 remaining in the quarter, but that was as close as they would get as the Panthers extended their lead to 19 points heading into the fourth quarter.