The Pekin boys? basketball team definitely has a tough road trip Thursday when they tipoff at 8 p.m. against 18-3 Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont for their next playoff matchup.
E-B-F?s three losses have come at home versus Class 1A?s No.2 ranked Grand View Christian, at No. 4 Lynnville-Sully by two points and at Class 3A?s No. 3 ranked Oskaloosa way back in mid-December.
The Fairfield Ledger caught up with Head Coach Ken Hutchinson who was supporting the girls? basketball team Tuesday night at Pekin High.
How familiar are you with Eddyville?
Ken Hutchinson: I?ve seen them live once. I haven?t seen any film on them, but they have a 6?5 guy[junior Gabe Larkin, 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 blocks per game] that?s pretty physical inside. Then they have three guards[juniors Trey Moore 14.8 ppg and Wyatt Klyn 13.2 ppg, plus senior KJ McCrea 11.0 ppg] that are just great penetraters and can all shoot that 10-15 foot pull-up jumpshot. We haven?t seen teams that can do that. One thing that?s nice is that they play man-to-man beginning to end, just like us.
Can you physically run with them the whole game?
Hutchinson: No, we can?t run the whole game with them. They get out and try to push the ball offensively so we?re not going to try and do that.
One thing I did notice is at times they take possessions off and so there might be a chance for us to exploit something like that, but for the most part we can?t get out and run with them. We?re going to have to play our game. If there?s a chance to run we will, but otherwise we prefer to hammer it out in the half-court.
If Pekin wins, is the score in the 30s or 40s?
Hutchinson: No, but I think it has to stay in the 60s. If we get into the 70s, that?s up their alley. Too much up and down and we?re not there, but 50s-60s is about where we need it to be.
Are you feeling confident going into the game?
Hutchinson: Yeah, but if you asked me that two weeks ago I?d have said no. We were on a skid and weren?t moving the ball very well. Our hearts didn?t seem into it, and we weren?t playing with energy or passion.
I thought maybe we threw in the towel, but last Thursday against West Burlington we not only got a big win, but we moved the ball well and looked good and carried that into our playoff game Monday night.
We got off to big starts in both wins and the first quarter is going to be huge again for us Thursday night on the road.