The Pinckneyville Panthers and their fans have a trip to plan, and they already know the way. As a matter of fact, it's a journey the basketball-crazy community has become very familiar with over the years.
The Panthers (now 32-3) dispatched of the Mt. Carmel Golden Aces in overtime, 60-47, on Tuesday night at the Carbondale Super Sectional.
The victory punched their ticket to the state tournament in Peoria. If they run the table there, it will be the fourth IHSA championship in the school's history (1948, 1994, 2001).
Tuesday night's contest was tied 22-22 at the half, and Mt. Carmel actually led by three at the end of the third quarter. That's when Pinckneyville took over.
After pushing back late in the fourth quarter, the Panthers then used their trapping defense and good free throw shooting to outscore their opponents, 13-5, in the overtime frame.
Mount Carmel finishes at 20-12 on the season, after coming out of the Teutopolis Sectional. They were led by Brayden Stipp, who scored a total of 17 points, but only managed four in the second half. Jackson Turcotte netted 12 for the Aces.
J.C.Moll was the man who set Pinckneyville on course, pacing the team with a game-high 24 points, including a heroic, and rare, four-point play late in the game that helped the Panthers tie late in regulation.
Dawson Yates also chipped in 11 for Pinckneyville, who will look to continue the drive for title number four. The Panthers tip off against Winnebago at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, at Peoria's Carver Arena.