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Pinckneyville outlasts Mt. Carmel in overtime at Carbondale Super-Sectional

  • Pinckneyville fans cover the SIU Arena Tuesday in a sea of Panther Blue.

    Pinckneyville fans cover the SIU Arena Tuesday in a sea of Panther Blue.
    Daniel Herbst photo

  • Panthers and coaches show the super sectional hardware.

    Panthers and coaches show the super sectional hardware.
    Daniel Herbst photo

  • Spirit Flags lead the team onto the SIU Arena floor before the tipoff.

    Spirit Flags lead the team onto the SIU Arena floor before the tipoff.
    Daniel Herbst photo

  • J.C. Moll slices between Golden Aces for the game-tying layup with 10 seconds left, to send the game to overtime.

    J.C. Moll slices between Golden Aces for the game-tying layup with 10 seconds left, to send the game to overtime.
    Daniel Herbst photo

  • Cheerleaders and the student section count off the last seconds.

    Cheerleaders and the student section count off the last seconds.
    Daniel Herbst photo

  • Pinckneyville's players, fans and cheerleaders pose for a photo after defeating Mt. Carmel for the Carbondale Super-Sectional title Tuesday night at SIU Arena.

    Pinckneyville's players, fans and cheerleaders pose for a photo after defeating Mt. Carmel for the Carbondale Super-Sectional title Tuesday night at SIU Arena.
    Daniel Herbst photo

  • Kyle Luke battles for the opening tip against Jackson Marcotte.

    Kyle Luke battles for the opening tip against Jackson Marcotte.
    Daniel Herbst photo

  • Senior Tyler Rice leads the final cheer at the welcome home pep rally at Thomas Gym after the Super Sectional win.

    Senior Tyler Rice leads the final cheer at the welcome home pep rally at Thomas Gym after the Super Sectional win.
    Daniel Herbst photo

 
By Ryan Boman
Contributing writer
updated: 3/8/2018 5:26 PM

CARBONDALE -- 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 the Mt. Carmel Golden Aces in overtime, 60-47, on Tuesday night at the Carbondale Super-Sectional.

The victory lets them punch their ticket to the Class 2A state tournament in Peoria. If they win a pair of games 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 the Golden Aces actually led by three points at the end of the third quarter. That's when Pinckneyville took over.

After pushing back late in the fourth quarter, the Panthers turned their trapping defense and good free-throw shooting to outscore the boys from Wabash County, 13-5, in the overtime frame.

"I think we played really hard when it came to positioning, and we paid great attention to our scouting reports," Pinckneyville Coach Bob Waggoner said about his team's stellar defensive play in the postseason. "We understand who they have to pressure and who they don't."

Waggoner said maturity is most definitely a key.

"It's taken a while for the kids to trust the process and to believe in how we prepare them and the success they can have with that."

Mount Carmel finishes at 20-12 after coming out of the Teutopolis Sectional. The Aces were led by Brayden Stipp, who scored a total of 17 points, but only managed four in the crucial second half. Jackson Turcotte netted 12 for the Aces.

Senior point guard 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 the score in regulation.

"Just an incredible performance, but really, he's done that his whole career," Waggoner said. "He's a gamer. He's been a four-year starter, and his toughness and leadership show, night in, and night out."

Dawson Yates chipped in 11 for Pinckneyville.

The Panthers tip off against Winnebago at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, in Peoria. Waggoner says fans should expect more of the same when his team hits the hardwood at Carver Arena.

"We're going to be the same team we've been all year," he said about his team's plans at the State tournament. "We're going to continue to pressure you. We're going to guard, and we're going to play with the pace. We want to get back and give our guys some freedom on offense to play.

"These guys have shown -- over and over again -- that's how they play. That's how they have success, and we're going to stick with it."