PINCKNEYVILLE — Just to make sure everyone knew where the next stop would be, Pinckneyville Panthers’ fans filled Duster Thomas Gymnasium with the chant of “SIU…SIU…SIU” as the final seconds ticked off the clock of Friday’s sectional championship game, as the Panthers edged Breese Central 47-43.
The briskly, well-played title tilt was a back and forth affair fitting of a championship game. The Cougars led 13-11 after one quarter, but Pinckneyville used a late run in the second quarter tie the game 22-22 at the half. Central took a 35-32 lead into the fourth quarter, but Pinckneyville’s Karsen Konkel and the Panthers’ defense took over.
Konkel scored six of his game high 18 points in the fourth quarter and helped set up a pair of Kellen Scott layups that put the Panthers in front to stay. The Panthers’ defense held the Cougars to a pair of fourth quarter field goals, the second coming with less than a second to play.
Reid Harriss hit four clutch free throws down the stretch as Breese Central was forced to foul in the final minute.
The Panthers improve to 28-6 and will face Teutopolis Monday night at 7:30 in the SIU 2A Supersectional with the winner headed to the state semifinals.
The Cougars finished their season 29-5.