Illinois Valley boys basketball season kicks off
Several area high school basketball teams were in action during the week of Thanksgiving.
DePue High School’s Rafa Puga made sure he would have something extra to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – he recorded a triple-double on Nov. 20 when the Little Giants took on the Galva High School Wildcats in the Williamsfield Tournament.
Puga racked up 20 points, 11 steals and 10 assists as DePue knocked off GHS 58-52. The Little Giants went into halftime down by one point, and the Wildcats extended the lead early in the third quarter. DHS would answer by scoring 10 unanswered points to take the lead.
In addition to Puga’s triple-double, Manny Winfret recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Eddie Moreno scored 12 points.
DePue next took on the ROWVA-Williamsfield Cougars in the next game of the Thanksgiving tournament. The Little Giants continued its good form, knocking off the Cats 52-40.
In DePue’s next game, the Little Giants would face a tough opponent in Hillsboro High School. DHS is a Class 1A school, while the Hillsboro Hawks are a Class 4A team. Despite the difference in school size, DePue put up a valiant effort, but came up short, losing 73-62.
The Little Giants were without Puga, who was sidelined with a sprained ankle, and were lead by Eddie Moreno, who put up 20 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Elsewhere, the Putnam County High School boys basketball team was blown out in its opening game of the year. The Panthers fell 49-21 against Annawan High School. The Annawan Braves controlled the entire game, outscoring the Panthers in each quarter and holding Putnam scoreless in the third quarter.
The Putnam Panthers dropped its second game of the year the following night, falling to Elmwood High School 53-35. PCHS started off slow, only managing to score 12 points in the first half and at the start of the fourth quarter, Putnam was down 44-19. Kaleb Wright led the Panthers with eight points and Logan Kreiser scored six points in the loss.
As if back-to-back blowout losses wasn’t bad enough for the Panthers, senior guard Caleb Dzierzynski left the game with a suspected sprained ankle in the fourth quarter.
In other regional action, Bureau Valley High School fell to Annawan High School Braves 56-40 on Nov. 21. The first half of the game was close, and at the start of the second half, AHS held a narrow 27-24 lead. The Braves would go on an early run to extend the lead and the Storm weren’t able to match the Annawan offense.
Andrew Petros was one of Bureau’s best players, scoring 19 points and four steals; Nathan Paup-Caudill also turned in a good performance, scoring nine points.
St. Bede Acdemy’s boys basketball team started its season at the Oregon Thanksgiving Tournament, where the Bruins dropped its opening game of the year, falling 44-33 against West Carroll High School. SBA took the lead early on in the game, but the Thunder would fight back and retake the lead. The score was close for much of the game, with the Thunder eventually pulling away for the win.
Jackson Funfsinn led all scorers in the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds.