CLIFTON — Paxton-Buckley-Loda bounced back from a 15-9 first-quarter deficit against Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley to advance to the Clifton Central Regional semifinals with a 53-41 victory Tuesday night.
“We got the job done,” PBL coach Scot Vogel said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but the kids battled and executed at key times when we needed it. After coming out a little bit slow, we stayed focused and did the right things. We were able to get a lead and extend it.”
Tyler Rubarts and Axl Denault each hit a three-pointer in the second quarter as PBL outscored GCMS 13-4 to go into halftime leading 22-19. The Panthers (16-12) extended the lead with a 10-5 third quarter.
PBL’s Drew Schrodt scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter.
“Drew was big tonight,” Vogel said. “We need to have Drew be that way. Obviously, he’s one of our key guys. He was feeling it in the second half and hit some big shots for us.”
The Panthers will face top-seeded Clifton Central at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.
“We know we’ve got to bring it,” Vogel said. “Clifton’s been playing well. We’ve got to make sure we match their intensity. We played them early in the year, and it has obviously been a long time since we’ve played.”
Wiley Hasty led with the Falcons (7-20) with 12 points. Reese Simpson, one of three GCMS seniors, hit two threes en route to eight points.
The Falcons’ other two seniors — Nick Retherford and Ben Eads — each contributed six points.
“We felt confident coming in,” GCMS coach Ryan Tompkins said. “I’m just sad for our seniors. They did a lot for our program.”