PAXTON – Dakota DeMoss scored 19 points and Kendall Cox added 16 as Paxton-Buckley-Loda beat St. Thomas More 59-43 in a Sangamon Valley Conference boys' basketball game Friday.
The Panthers fell behind 9-2 but rallied for a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
"We got some timely turnovers," coach Scot Vogel said.
PBL began to assert itself with a Tom Rubarts three-pointer at the buzzer to give PBL a 31-27 halftime lead.
"Kendall and Rubarts have been sick, so they were anxious to get out there and play," Vogel said. "You could see the rust a little bit."
Down 11, the Sabers got within 45-40 before PBL pulled away.
"We had an 11-point lead and we made some silly plays, possessions where we get nothing out of it," Vogel said. "The kids kind of panicked a little bit. That's where we need to have better leadership, whether it's Kendall or (Tyler) Waterstradt, even DeMoss, for a post guy."
Vogel praised bench players Jarrett Thomas, Adam Carlson and Eric Funk, all of whom got important minutes in the deciding part of the game.
"I thought it was nice that our kids stepped up, though. That's two games in a row where we've had a kid come out with fouls with solid minutes left to play and they executed pretty fair," said Vogel of Rubarts, who fouled out with 4:19 left and the Panthers leading by six.
Justin Koerner led St. Thomas More with 18 points. Kristian Gallivan added 12.
SJ-O 65, Tri-Point 42
Tad Worley scored 16 points and Zach Becker had 14 for visiting St. Joseph-Ogden.
"Our energy has been good for two games in a row," SJ-O coach Brian Brooks said. "We've been up and down with that all season, so that is good to see."
Jake Firkins added 13 points and Blaize Cumbow had 10.
Clifton Central 48, CPCI 39
Devon Kuhn had 13 points for the host Timberwolves, who were held scoreless in the third quarter after the nonconference game was tied at halftime.