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Peotone Falls to Manteno

by Dennis Bowling

Peotone coach Eric Peppmuller, who is in his first varsity season with the Blue Devils, saw his team start slowly against rival Manteno, but almost clipped the Panthers on November 23.

Blue Devil senior Kyle Gasik, a 6-foot-3 guard, registered 12 points, which included a pair of late-game treys, had four rebounds, and four steals, but Manteno edged Peotone 58-49 in pool play at the 2018 Turkey Tip-Off in Manteno.

“We were missing a lot of shots early,” said Peppmuller. “We also struggled with our free throws. Kyle (Gasik) got his shooting game going a bit too late.”

The Panthers were in complete control holding a 17-10 first quarter lead. They owned a 32-17 halftime advantage. But, Peotone finally found its rhythm in the third quarter.

With a Manteno 41-24 lead, the Blue Devils went on a 10-0 run to cut the Manteno advantage to 41-34 at the close of the stanza.

After the drive, Ryan Brewer (12 points, 5 steals, 5 assists) was fouled made a pair of free throws to slice it 41-26. Brewer then delivered a jumper. The Blue Devils Nick Scroppo (7 points) added a bucket, and Brewer drilled in a trey from the key to cut the Panther advantage to 41-33. A Gasik free throw made it 41-34.

“Ryan did a great job of breaking down their defense,” said Peppmuller. “He is just so strong. He contributes everywhere on the floor.”

With 3:50 left, Manteno held a 49-38 lead. Peotone’s Dylan Bettenhausen (11 points) drilled in a trey. Moments later, the Blue Devils Danny Walsh (4 points) stole the ball and made a layup to narrow the Manteno lead to 49-43.

The Panthers owned a 53-43 lead with 50 seconds left and then stretched the advantage to 57-43. At that point, Gasik nailed back-to-back three-pointers, but time ran out.

“I should have been making more shots than misses,” Gasik said. “I am going home and work on my free throws. When Ryan drives to the basket, it leaves our outside shooters open. We also have to work on cutting down on our turnovers.”

“Kyle is a playmaker,” said Brewer. “He always gets good looks at the basket. He was getting hot, knocking down threes at the end, but we just could not pull through. We do have to play harder, set more screens, and stop fouling so much.”

On November 30, Peotone will host to I-8 foe Westmont at 7:00.

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