The Pekin boys basketball team fell into a deep hole Tuesday night and it couldn’t climb out.
Down 32-9 at halftime to visiting Normal Community in a non-conference game, the Dragons came to life in the second half but fell 50-40 at Hawkins Gym.
“I can’t fault our lack of effort in the first half, but I’d give our execution on offense an ‘F’ and our execution on defense an ‘F,’” said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven.
“If you can’t score and can’t stop someone, that’s a bad recipe,” he said.
The lopsided first half wasn’t all Pekin’s doing, however.
“Give credit to Normal Community’s defense,” Walraven said. “They were physical and their guys are athletic. They wouldn’t let us do what we were trying to do and we weren’t good enough to impose our will on them.”
Walraven described the second half as “helter-skelter” with the Dragons (2-4) causing turnovers that cut into Normal Community’s lead.
“Our kids worked hard all night and kept fighting, so those are positives to take out of the game,” Walraven said.
Nobody from Pekin scored in double figures. Christian Hill and Jace Link each had eight points, and Jack Halstead and Patrick Torrey each had seven. Hill had six steals, Halstead and five assists and Link had a team-high five rebounds.
C.J. Christian had a heck of a night for Normal Community (4-2). He scored 23 points, shooting 11-for-14 from the field, and he had three steals.
Pekin shot just 33 percent from the field (15-for-45, including 4-for-18 on 3-pointers) after a 62 percent effort Saturday in a win over Mid-Illini Conference foe Dunlap. Normal Community shot 55 percent (21-for-38).
The Dragons will complete a four-game home stand this weekend.
Mid-Illini foes Canton and East Peoria will come to Hawkins Gym on Friday and Saturday. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. Friday and 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.