As with most sports, basketball teams cannot afford to look too far ahead, especially in the postseason. When a single loss can end your season, it’s too risky to spend any time worrying about what lies any farther down the road.
For fans of both Pekin and Van Buren boys basketball, however, they both know their teams are just one win away from what could be a titanic district final matchup.
The road to the anticipated heavyweight showdown goes through Centerville Tuesday night where both Pekin (18-3) and Van Buren (19-3) play in the Class 1A District semifinals. At 6:30, Pekin takes on a Wayne team with a 13-8 season record. At 8:00, Van Buren’s opponent will be 15-7 Twin Cedars. The Panthers and Warriors are expected to win their games, but the opponents are good enough that the outcome is far from certain.
Ironically, it appeared for a long time this season that Pekin and Van Buren would meet as regular-season foes, and only a fluke of weather prevented it. In the Southeast Iowa Superconference, the winners of the North and South divisions meet at the end of the season in the conference shootout. Pekin won the North and Van Buren won the South, but at the time that the pairings for the shootout were set, Van Buren was a half-game behind Danville in the South standings because they had yet to make up a snowed-out game against Holy Trinity. Pekin would play Danville in the shootout, while Van Buren faced Iowa Mennonite (and ironically, both Pekin and Van Buren lost those shootout games).
If Pekin and Van Buren both win Tuesday, they would meet in the District Final Thursday night at 7:00, at Davis County High School in Bloomfield. Pekin’s game Tuesday night will be broadcast on 101.5 Kiss FM, and Van Buren’s game will be broadcast on 92.7 KTWA. If the two teams do face each other, Thursday night’s game will be on both stations.