Seniors shine as Pontiac captures IPC victory at home

    Looking to rebound after a tough loss on Monday, Pontiac took care of business using a different look in overrunning Olympia 88-59 in an Illini Prairie Conference contest at PTHS.
    It was Senior Night for the Indians, and head coach Durrell Robinson opted for a different look by starting five seniors. The first two players off the bench were also seniors.
    “The senior group is an excellent class, great young men,” PTHS head coach Durrell Robinson said. “We tried to favor it as much as we could for the seniors.”
    An interesting thing about Robinson’s lineup manipulation was having different groups on the floor who didn’t have a lot of time playing as a unit. But the mix worked well.
    Mike Davis, who has been a part-time starter, opened the scoring with a 3-pointer.
    Olympia answered with five straight points, but Joey Murphy, the Pontiac kid who returned after playing at Central Catholic, had an opportunity for a three-point play twice in a four-second span to give the Indians the lead back, and for good.
    Murphy was fouled on a leaner that dropped. He missed the free throw but the Indians got the rebound and Murphy got it back for basket underneath and was fouled on the play.
    He missed that free throw, as well, but the Indians were up 7-5 three minutes into the game and the margin was only going to get bigger.
    Isaac Nollen scored on a tip-in as Pontiac showed it learned a lesson from the night before when rebounding was a problem. Murphy fed Davis on a break for another basket the Tribe took an 11-5 lead and forced Olympia head coach Doug Yoder to use a timeout.
    All seven seniors saw time on the floor in the first quarter. In fact, all the seniors saw significant time on the floor in each quarter.
    “We did mix and match a little bit with some lineups and we saw some positives we can take forward as we prepare for regionals,” Robinson said.
    “Subs” Carter Dawson and Ryan Weir got in late in the first quarter and helped push the lead to 20-7 before Jonathan While hit a 3-pointer for the Spartans as time ran out in the period.
    If there was a problem for the Indians, it was in free throw shooting, particularly in the first half where Pontiac made just 4 of 12 tosses.
    But Pontiac’s game was such that free throw shooting wasn’t going to be the difference. Payton Amm, Dawson and Max Gschwendtner each made field goals and Dawson added two free throws as the Tribe built a 28-12 lead three minutes into the second period.
    The Indians scored 24 points in the second in taking a 44-19 lead at the intermission. Pontiac was on a 2-for-1 scoring surge for quite some time. Even when Olympia scored five straight points in the middle of the third frame, the Indians responded with a run of nine — seven coming from Murphy — to answer and take a 63-31 lead.
    That’s about where it ended, however. The Spartans were beginning to get enough points to keep from getting doubled up, but not to really eat into the deficit. Pontiac led 72-44 after three, and when Weir scored on a put-back, a play he was fouled on, the clock began its non-stop journey.
    “It’s always good to get that taste back in your mouth,” Robinson said of the win after Monday’s loss.
    Murphy led the Indians (14-12) with 21 points and Mike Davis added 16 points and 5 rebounds. Amm hit for 12 points, Weir scored 11 and Dawson tallied 7 markers. Clay Miller chalked up 6 points and Gschwendtner had 6 points and 5 assists. Luke Fox had 5 points and Nollen scored 4.
    “Our goal is to get better as the season goes along, we feel like we’re doing that right now,” Robinson said. Hopefully, we can continue to carry this momentum. I’m proud of these guys and how hard they’ve worked. They continue to fight and continue to get better.
    SOPHS: Pontiac took care of business in the preliminary, winning 48-38 behind Mason Monahan’s 22 points. Matt Murphy added 12 with Donovan Murphy chipping in 6. Aaron Adcock put in 3 points, Keegan Brinkman and Kodi Davis each had 2 points and Peyton Cheek scored 1 point.