In a night where seniors Nate Gosnell, Sam VanDenAvond and Andrew Angevine were honored, the biggest team contributor was Alex Sorenson.

In a night where seniors Nate Gosnell, Sam VanDenAvond and Andrew Angevine were honored, the biggest team contributor was Alex Sorenson.

Sorenson finished with a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Eagles beat East Peoria, 53-45.

“I would say Alex gave the whole squad a confidence boost tonight with his play overall,” Dunlap coach Jeff Barker said. “His shooting was clutch and very key and our guys kept finding him. That was huge. When a guy’s hot like that you have to make sure he’s getting touches and they did.”

While this is not the most Sorenson has scored for the team all season, Barker said this was his most clutch performance.

“We really needed a lift when he came in,” he said. “We weren’t scoring very well, we weren’t getting it in the paint to score.”

East Peoria started off with a 6-2 advantage after two quick 3-pointers.

However, Jacob Taylor tied it up at 6-all off a two pointer with 3:51 left in the first.

The Raiders scored another basket, but Dunlap rattled off four straight points before East Peoria held the ball for the last minute before missing two last second shots.

In the second, Corey Crotz scored a basket and completed the three-point play after Taylor fouled him to tie it at 11-all.

The two teams stayed within a few baskets of each other until Dunlap went on a 5-0 run at the end of the half to get a 25-19 advantage.

The Raiders were able to stay close during the first half thanks to some big threes from Walt White.

“Walt had a tremendous all-around game, not just on offense,” East Peoria coach Ron Kelch said. “He also played some good defense and got a few rebounds for us.”

The second half saw Dunlap continue its scoring run by getting five more points before Crotz got a three-point play from a basket and a foul, making the score 30-22.

The Raiders then went on a run of its own, scoring six points and some key turnovers thanks to a press on Dunlap.

“We told the guys, ‘Make sure that you vary your cut,’” Barker said. “They were getting predictable on their cuts and going to spots instead of reading where the defense was and cutting their way through the defense. We did a much better job later and we made some adjustment in our alignment to start our press offense.”

That adjustment let Dunlap extend its lead back to 10 points, where it stayed at until the end of the third.

The second half also saw the Eagles keep its lead up by getting second chances on missed free-throw shots.

“We gave up a couple of offensive rebounds off of missed free throws, when we could have gotten back in the game,” Kelch said. “That’s tough to take.”

The closest the lead ever got in the fourth was six points, 51-45, with about 37 seconds to go in the game.

“This is a big win for our guys,” Barker said. “We went through a rough stretch in the schedule and played some awfully good teams during the period since we won our last game. It’s a very good feeling in the locker room right now.”

Crotz led the Raiders with 18 points and tied a team-high four rebounds.

“We always tried to put our best defender on him and make sure that we get early, early help and we also had one of our bigs hanging in the middle of the lane because he does a great job getting to the rim and getting fouled and making shots,” Barker said about guarding Crotz. “Our goal was to make it as hard on him as possible.”

For the Eagles, Gosnell had 14 points and VanDenAvond had 10 rebounds.

“I’m just proud of everyone for stepping up for the seniors on senior night. This is a big deal for them,” Barker said.

Limestone 55, Dunlap 49

A late-game push by Dunlap (6-19, 3-10) could not overcome three quarters of low scoring Saturday in a road loss to Limestone, 55-49.

The Eagles scored five in the first and third quarters and seven in the second. Meanwhile, the Rockets built up a 15-point lead by halftime and extended it to 19 at the end of three.

Dunlap kicked into overdrive in the last quarter, cutting the lead down to seven points at one point and scoring 39 points in the quarter.

The Rockets would hold on, though, making six of eight free throw attempts in the final minute.

The Eagles were led by 14 points from Sorenson, with Gosnell and VanDenAvond both scoring 10.

VanDenAvond also had six rebounds.

Coming up

The Eagles will finish off its regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Pekin before hosting the Dunlap Regional Monday, March 2.

Dunlap will host No. 4 Galesburg at 7:30 p.m. Monday. The Eagles are ranked No. 5.

“It will be a fun Regional with the teams that are in there,” Barker said. “I went and saw Galesburg, it was all threes. It was five-out offense and all threes. I just kept watching them thinking, ‘Surely, sometime they’re going to drive and try to get it in.’ It was just constant threes, 90 percent. If they’re shooting well, you’re in trouble. If they’re not, they’re beatable. They haven’t won a game in their league, but that league’s awfully good too.”

The winner plays No. 1 Peoria Central High School at 6 p.m. Feb. 29.