Peckham powers Preds to pole position
Check off another preseason goal for Andrew Peckham’s Fox Creek boys basketball team.
After a decisive 72-47 win over North on Monday night, the Predators (18-4, 10-0 Region 4-A) clinched the region crown on senior night. Fox Creek was led in the effort by Brandyn Quiller, who had 18 points, and Ikel El, who had 17. Marques Sumner had 12 and Nick Ford also had 10 to round out the double-digit scorers.
“I’m ecstatic about it,” Peckham said. “I don’t think we came out the exact way I wanted to. In the fourth quarter I was real proud of the kids because we held them to six points and were able to extend the lead. It’s great to be back-to-back region champs.”
North came ready to play and kept close at half – trailing 31-22. The Eagles continued to chip away at start of the third quarter, but eventually ran out of gas and the Predators were able to build up a comfortable cushion.
“They were trying to throw a half-court trap at us in the first half and we were having some trouble with that,” Peckham said. “So we made some adjustments and were able to get some easy looks and easy baskets. Then we did a little bit better job with being able to penetrate the zone and kicking out to shooters. Nick Ford hit a couple off the bench; he’s a senior and it was pretty cool for him to do that.”
In a sign of respect, Peckham had his three seniors start the game — Ford, Andrew Crytzer and Kyle Rouse.
To get to this point the Predators won two games last week. The first came against region foe Ridge Spring-Monetta, 63-56. Sumner led Fox Creek with 27 points to dispatch the Trojans. Corrin Cannon had 12 and El had 10 in that contest.
“We didn’t have a good start in that game,” Peckham said. “We were down eight points in the first quarter, and I don’t think we came out ready to play. I think sometimes it’s in their mind that we beat them the way we did the last time (71-47). In the third quarter we were able to really stretch out a lead and hold on. Sumner hit some big shots that we needed in that one.”
In a statement non-region win, the Predators took down a top-25 team in the state in Cardinal Newman, 60-53. El led the team in that contest with 15 points, and he was followed by Cannon (12), Quiller (11), Caleb Veihman (11) and Sumner (10) to round out the starting five. The unselfish play was a big bonus for Peckham, as he said he has been looking for that from his squad all season.
Tuesday’s game against Blackville-Hilda was postponed due to weather and will be made up at a later date. If the weather cooperates, the team will also be in action on Thursday at Williston-Elko to conclude its regular season. The team’s first playoff game will be Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at Riverview Park Activities Center.