When was the last time a freshman led the Pekin boys basketball team in scoring in a game?
Dragons coach Jeff Walraven isn’t sure.
What’s certain is Pekin beat Winston-Salem (N.C.) Prep Academy 63-51 Friday morning at Torry Gym in the Washington Tournament of Champions.
Freshman guard Adam Cash led the Dragons (1-2) to their first win of the season with 19 points. Is Cash’s output a sign of things to come this year?
“We’ll see what happens in the long run,” Walraven said. “Right now, Adam is doing everything we’re asking him to do and he’s playing with a lot of poise.”
Jace Link (16 points, nine rebounds, four assists), Justin Taphorn (13 points, four rebounds), Brady Grashoff (seven points) and Mitchell Cascia (six points, 11 rebounds) also made major contributions to Pekin’s victory, which Walraven called a team effort.
The Dragons were a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Rebounding also was a key to the win. Pekin outrebounded Winston-Salem 36-28.
“Jace (Link) and Mitchell (Cascia) rebounded the heck out of the ball when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter,” Walraven said.
Pekin led Winston-Salem most of the way. The Dragons were up 29-28 at halftime and 41-37 after three quarters before putting away the win with a 22-point fourth quarter.
Walraven said Link has begun his senior season playing with confidence.
“Jace is finding different ways to score and letting the game come to him,” Walraven said about the 6-foot-4 forward.
Pekin will play its last of four Tournament of Champions games at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Chicago Leo. Walraven is hoping to see the Dragons continue to improve.
“We’ve progressed in each game we’ve played this week, especially on the defensive end,” he said.
The Dragons allowed 87 and 83 points in their first two tournament games, losses to Belleville West and College Park (Texas) on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.