The Pekin boys basketball team locked down Limestone and third place in the Mid-Illini Conference on Friday night.
Down 11-10 after the first quarter, the Dragons dominated the rest of the night and beat the host Rockets 41-23 in a conference and regular-season finale in Vern Woosley Gymnasium.
The victory left Pekin (14-12, 10-4) in third place in the Mid-Illini standings behind Metamora (21-8, 12-2) and Morton (19-10, 11-3).
The Dragons won six of seven games in the second half of their conference schedule, losing only at Metamora, and have won eight of 10 overall.
"We've been finding ways to win. I'm proud of our guys for how they've been playing," said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven.
Friday's win avenged Pekin's 36-33 home loss to Limestone on Jan. 19, a game in which the Dragons allowed the Rockets (8-22, 6-8) to dictate the tempo and style of play.
"They (Limestone) made a high percentage of their shots that night (7-for-9 in the second half), made some runs, and we didn't do a good job offensively," Walraven said.
Rockets coach Eddie Mathews concurred.
"We made some three-pointers, hit our free throws, and brought our hard hats to play inside when we beat Pekin," he said. "But we didn't give ourselves a chance to do that (Friday)."
After scoring 11 points in the first quarter of the rematch, Limestone had just 12 points in the final three quarters. The Rockets shot 26 percent from the field (8-for-30) for the game, with four of their eight baskets and three of five triples coming in the opening quarter.
Pekin shot 36 percent from the field (15-for-41) but outrebounded the Rockets 23-15.
Justin Taphorn and Patrick Torrey each scored 10 points for the Pekin. Torrey's total included a two-handed slam dunk on a put-back late in the first quarter that was the highlight of the game for Pekin.
Brady Grashoff tossed in nine points, all in the second half, and Max Jones had six points for the Dragons on back-to-back triples just before halftime.
Pekin led 21-14 at halftime and 28-17 after three quarters, holding the Rockets to three points in the second quarter and again in the third quarter.
Only three Limestone players scored on the Rockets' Senior Night. Mike Dunne had 13 points, Lane Luncsford had six points and Nathan Thornton had four points.
Dunne had all three Rockets points in the second quarter. Luncsford's triple on the first possession of the third quarter accounted for the lone Limestone points in the quarter.
Thornton, a 6-3 junior, scorched Pekin for 21 points in the first meeting between the teams, shooting 6-for-7 from the field and 7-for-9 at the free throw line.
Friday was his first game back in action after being out a month with a torn meniscus.
"Nathan is a tough kid," Mathews said. "Having him back will give us a lift in the postseason. It's too bad he was injured. He was having a heck of a season."
Next for Pekin and Limestone is the postseason. No. 8 seed Pekin will face No. 10 seed Peoria High (8-21) at 7 p.m. Monday in the Class 4A regional hosted by the Dragons in Hawkins Gym and Limestone will go to the Class 3A East Peoria Regional.
The Pekin-Peoria High winner will face No. 1 seed Normal Community at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the regional semifinals.
"I know there are more play-in games now in regionals because of the sub-sectionals format, but I'm sure you'll see two teams Monday whose pride has been hurt because they're in a regional play-in game," Walraven said.
No. 9 seed Limestone will meet No. 6 seed Chillicothe IVC (12-17) at 6 p.m. Monday at East Peoria with the winner meeting No. 2 seed Peoria Manual (14-11) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the regional semifinals.
"I'm happy about going to East Peoria," Mathews said. "The last time we were there for regionals (2013), we beat (No. 3-ranked) Washington and went on to the state finals (for the first time in school history)."
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.