Another loss, but UT takes defensive strides


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Posted Online: Jan. 05, 2013, 10:41 pm
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By Steve Tappa, stappa@qconline.com
Marc Polite yelled "cut'' so many times Saturday night, the United Township boys' basketball coach sounded like the director of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Unfortunately, Polite's Panthers proved again to be not-quite-ready-for-Prime-Time players.

Youthful UT clawed as close as five points a couple of times in the fourth quarter, but fell for the 13th time in 16 starts, dropping a 33-24 decision to Pekin and Northwestern signee Nathan Taphorn at the Panther Den.

Both teams hit only 9 of 37 shots from the field, for matching shooting nights of a frigid 24 percent.

UT shot just 9 of 28 in a Friday loss to Peoria Notre Dame, but disappointed Polite with much-less effort defensively.

"We really struggled again offensively,'' Polite said. "We struggled making the extra pass.

"A team like us, we have to work the ball and not be stationary. We have to work the ball around and keep cutting.''

Yet, despite UT suffering through the worst of the offensive lulls, Pekin (11-4) had to score a bucket off a last-minute turnover to force an 8-8 halftime tie with the Panthers (3-13).

However, "East Mo'' went 18 minutes between points -- a full two quarters and then some -- to fall behind 18-10 late in the third frame.

The Panthers not only went scoreless in the second quarter, but didn't score a basket between the 3:06 mark of the first quarter, on a Deveric Rogers jumper, to four seconds remaining in the third quarter, on a Trevor May drive.

"But, Pekin makes you play that way,'' Polite said. "They sag, and they're long and they switch everything, so it's almost like playing against a zone (defense).

"When you have a big guy like (Taphorn), who erases mistakes, and clogs the lane, they just don't let you get many, if any, clean looks inside.

"We got some shots, but we're a confidence team, and when things didn't fall for us early, I thought our kids got gun-shy. That's where we have to be mentally tough to fight through that.''

In the fourth quarter, the Panthers clawed back to within five points on another May drive inside of four minutes, and on a Keegan Wenskunas 3-pointer with 1:04 showing.

However, Pekin hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute to close out the comeback.

"To have a high-level Division I player like they have and then make them work as hard as they did for quality shots is a testament to where we're going defensively,'' said Polite, whose club resumes Western Big 6 Conference play Friday at Galesburg.

"I've been there as a player before where you feel nothing is going right offensively. So it's a huge credit to our kids to lock down and focus and play defense like they did.''

May finished with nine points and three assists to pace the Panthers.

Pekin's scoring leaders were Zac Hansen (12 points, nine rebounds) and Taphorn (10 points, seven rebounds on 2-for-10 shooting).

















 



Local events heading








  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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