WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW: Plenty of size, speed for Panthers on the courtPekin will likely start five seniors
Head Coach: Ken Hutchinson, 5th year
Key Returnees: Cade Millikin (Sr.), Petie Clubb (Sr.), Brody Long (Sr.), Eric Adam (Sr.), Jared Bond (Sr.)
Outlook: The Panthers have plenty of experience and leadership to go around. Pekin should be bigger than most of its opponents, and Hutchinson is hoping that the size advantage will lead to more wins.
Some would say that the Pekin Panthers were rebuilding 2012-13.
After multiple basketball record holder Trey Sathoff and nine other seniors graduated, the Panthers turned to inexperienced juniors. While seniors like Graham Wittrock still remained to lead the team, it was clear the batch of junior talent would be a load for opponents to handle once they became seniors in 2013-14.
And now basketball season has finally arrived.
“We lacked the confidence and experience to make an impact last year,” coach Ken Hutchinson said. “We have all but two [players] coming back, so experience won’t be an excuse.”
Pekin will likely start five seniors. Petie Clubb will lead the team at point guard, and Cade Millikin will play the two guard. Millikin was an intriciate part of the team last season, both offensively and defensively. His 122 assists and 85 steals led the team.
The other three seniors make up a dynamic and sizable frontcourt. Eric Adam is a physical forward that can give the team defense and rebounding. Brody Long, who averaged nearly a double-double last season, will be playing near the basket while Jared Bond will provide another post presence.
“Having three seniors in the frontcourt should give us a size and strength advantage,” Hutchinson said. “We should be bigger than most teams in the conference this year.”
Christian Wittrock, Cole Reighard, Kyle Miller and Jeff Brain are all back for their junior seasons and will be used off the bench. The juniors will be competing for minutes all season and will have to play effective defense to stay in the rotation.
The Panthers see themselves competing with Lone Tree and IMS for a conference championship, something that Pekin hasn’t achieved since 2007-08.
“If we continue to improve offensively and defensively, with an improved will to hold teams to single digit quarters defensively, we should be able to hoist a conference championship award,” Hutchinson said.
SEISC North Division: 2012-13 Standings
Team, Conference Record, Overall Record
Lone Tree 18-0 25-2
IMS 16-2 24-2
Pekin 10-8 15-9
Mediapolis 13-5 14-9
Highland 11-7 14-9
Wapello 6-12 9-14
Louisa-Muscatine 6-12 7-15
WACO 6-12 7-15
Winfield-Mt. Union 4-14 7-16
Columbus 0-18 1-21
Pekin 2013-14 Schedule: Varsity Basketball
12/3 @ Lone Tree
12/5 @ Wapello
12/10 vs. Columbus
12/13 @ Louisa-Muscatine
12/17 vs. Mediapolis
12/19 vs. Cardinal
12/20 @ IMS
1/4 vs. Highland
1/7 @ Winfield-Mount Union
1/10 vs. WACO
1/14 vs. Lone Tree
1/17 vs. Wapello
1/21 @ Columbus Junction
1/24 vs. Louisa-Muscatine
1/28 @ Mediapolis
1/31 vs. IMS
2/4 @ Highland
2/7 vs. Winfield-Mount Union
2/11 @ WACO
2/14 SEISC Shootout (TBA)