ST. JOSEPH – Dane Winn scored 12 points as Tuscola beat Paxton-Buckley-Loda 36-33 in the opening game at Saturday's Leader Classic.
"We started to panic when we got pressured," Tuscola coach David Hess said. "Guys would try to do it all on their own instead of trying to stay within themselves."
The game featured one of the area's best defensive guards, Tuscola's Travis Surma, guarding one of the area's best scoring guards, PBL's Kendall Cox.
Cox had 12 points. The Panthers were led by Dakota DeMoss's 13 points.
Midway through the first quarter, referees conferred with Cox and Surma to make sure things didn't get out of hand. Surma fouled out with three points.
"Travis is a competitor, there's no doubt about that," Hess said.
Down 33-19 in the third quarter, PBL used a 14-0 run for a tie. Winn scored the only Tuscola field goal of the fourth quarter with 2:20 left and Clayton Meyer made a free throw to make the lead three with 6.6 seconds left.
PBL (8-3) missed its last seven free throws and went 2 of 11 from the line in the third quarter.
"We pressured them and ran the floor," PBL coach Scot Vogel said. "We've got to maintain consistency throughout the game. "The kids battled, but it's got to be for a full 32 minutes."
Monticello 70, Villa Grove 51
Nathan Swarts scored 22 points, 17 in the second half, for the Sages.
"We came out sluggish, a lot slower than we wanted," Monticello coach Kevin Roy said. "We were playing at a level that was beneath us. Our subs came in and picked up the intensity. We had a little bit of depth tonight."
The 6-foot-5 Swarts offered the most problems for the Blue Devils.
"In the second half we got much better ball movement," Roy said. "We got some touches inside, Swarts got the ball inside and could kick it out. We were able to move the ball inside-out."
Corbin Sebens added 15 for the Sages.
Travis Parsley led Villa Grove with 13 points. Josh Fisher and Jacob Palmey both added 11.
The evening session games of the Leader Classic were canceled due to bad weather. St. Joseph-Ogden athletic director Dick Duvall said he will know Monday when the games will be made up.