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Pioneer slows pace, but Wabash advances to sectional final

McKaig leads Panthers with 7 in prep finale


Sports Editor, RTC

Drew McKaig

WALTON — The Pioneer boys basketball team’s first possession against Wabash in their Class 2A, Sectional 36 semifinal at Lewis Cass Friday took 1:50 off the clock.

Their second possession took 1:36.

They did not score on either possession.

As it turned out, the efficient Apaches needed less time to do more damage, and they would go on to advance to the sectional final.

Trevor Daughtry scored 11 of his game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter as Wabash won 40-22. Alex Dinkins added nine, and Izaak Wright and Grant Ford had seven each.

Wabash, who starts five seniors, won their 11th straight game and improved to 19-5. They never trailed.

Drew McKaig had seven points, and Noah Miller had six for Pioneer, who finished 9-14. McKaig and Miller were the only Pioneer players who had more than one field goal.

This was the first ever meeting between the teams.

Pioneer trailed 14-4 at halftime but cut the deficit to 16-10 with 4:00 left in the third quarter on a drive-and-kick 3-pointer from Miller off a McKaig assist.

But Wabash answered with a 9-0 run. 

Wright, an 1,100-point scorer who was shut out in the first half, hit a pullup jumper from 15 feet off a shot fake. Then he buried a 3-pointer from the right wing after a Brayden Erickson miss from 3.

Then came two dazzling Daughtry assists – the first was a no-look pass to set up a Ford layin at the rim and the second set up Dinkins for a layup to make it 25-10.

Daughtry, also an 1,100-point scorer, got hot in the fourth quarter, but by then, Wabash had already established a 14-point lead.

Wabash turned the ball over on their first possession but also made their first four shots to take a 10-2 lead after one quarter. Ford and Dinkins hit 3-pointers, Daughtry hit a pullup in the lane, and Wright hit Kaden Vogel for a layup. That offset a strong driving banker from Pioneer’s Rylahn Toloza.

A Wright feed to Dinkins and a drive from Ford down the left baseline for a bucket made it 14-2.

McKaig blew by Vogel off the dribble to cut the deficit to 10.

In the third quarter, Lucas Perry drilled a 3 from the right wing for the Panthers, but Wright found Dinkins for a hoop.

Neither team scored for over two-and-a-half minutes before Miller got Pioneer even closer.

Pioneer has not won a sectional title since their four-peat from 2010-13. Pioneer is expected to drop to Class 1A for the two-year cycle beginning in 2024-25.

Wabash 40, Pioneer 22

PIONEER (22) (9-14)

Micah Rans 0 0-0 0, Drew McKaig 3 0-0 7, Brayden Erickson 0 1-2 1, Rylahn Toloza 1 0-0 2, Lucas Perry 1 0-0 3, Luke Blackman 1 0-0 3, Ryan Looker 0 0-0 0, Mason Shaver 0 0-0 0, Lane Weldy 0 0-0 0, Brodie Howard 0 0-0 0, Noah Miller 2 0-0 6, Shiloh Rine 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 8 1-2 22

WABASH (40) (19-5)

Trevor Daughtry 4 2-2 13, Kaden Vogel 1 0-0 2, Grant Ford 3 0-0 7, Izaak Wright 3 0-0 7, Alexander Dinkins 4 0-0 9, Braydon French 0 0-0 0, Tyson Carpenter 0 0-0 0, Brayten Eis 0 0-0 0, Elias Mattern 0 0-0 0, DaVon Osborn 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 16 2-2 40

Three-point field goals:

Pioneer 5 (Miller 2, McKaig, Perry, Blackman),

Wabash 6 (Daughtry 3, Wright, Ford, Dinkins)

Total fouls: Pioneer 6, Wabash 6

Turnovers: Pioneer 7, Wabash 5

Score by quarters

Pioneer 2 2 8 10 22

Wabash 10 4 11 15 40

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