Bluejays emerge with scrappy win over Rams in season opener

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Perry's Ryan Rathje (top) and Solomon Pierce battle for a loose ball with Greene County's Trey Tucker (12) and Max Neese (on court) as Anthony Cunningham looks on.

JEFFERSON — Visiting Perry used a 21-5 spurt over a seven-minute stretch to seize control of Tuesday’s non-conference battle with Greene County and never looked back in claiming a 67-59 win in their season-opener.

Both teams fired a barrage of 3-point attempts in the contest, with the Rams sinking nine shots beyond the arc and the Bluejays eight, and while neither team shot well at the foul line (Greene County was 8-of-14, Perry 9-of-18) Perry’s edge in height and speed helped provide the necessary edge.

Perry was playing with starting guard Shammond Ivory, who is battling an illness. His absence was capably covered by a Bluejay rotation that managed to avoid the kind of long scoreless spans that doomed the team at teams last season.

Bluejay forward Kyle Nevitt spins and scores over the top of Ram forward Mitchell Gorsuch.
Bluejay forward Kyle Nevitt spins and scores over the top of Ram forward Mitchell Gorsuch.

The rivals were locked in a back-and-forth affair for most of the night, with Ryan Rathje’s straight-on banked-in 3-pointer from 25 feet away at the first quarter horn giving the guests a 20-15 lead.

Trey Tucker and Trey Hinote each drained a trey to knot the score at 23-all early in the second frame, with the Rams holding a 31-30 edge in the waning minutes of the half when Perry’s offense suddenly found a second gear.

Connor Nielsen hit and bucket and foul shot, Janier Puente scored off a rebound and Kyle Nevitt scored along the baseline as Perry surged to a 38-31 halftime lead.

The margin grew to 51-36 five-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter, with baskets from Puente and Solomon Pierce and a steal and two-handed dunk from Nevitt firing up the Perry bench.

However, the Rams refused to wilt, with Tucker and Hinote again hitting triples as the hosts trimmed their deficit from 15 points to nine and entered the final frame trailing only 52-43.

Perry's Connor Nielsen is fouled while taking the ball strong to the rim. NIelsen hit the shot, then converted the and-1 free throw.
Perry’s Connor Nielsen is fouled while taking the ball strong to the rim. Nielsen hit the shot, then converted the “and-1” free throw.

The gap remained at nine points midway through the period, with Perry holding a 60-51 edge. Although the hosts continued to play with passion, they could not find a way to cut deeply into their deficit, with Perry holding on for a 67-59 win.

Rathje’s 15 points paced Perry, with Rashon Ivory adding 13 points, Nevitt 11 and Puente 10. Pierce finished with 15 points and Alex Long with six while Nielsen provided three points. Rathje had three treys, Ivory and Long two apiece and Nevitt one.

Tucker led Greene County with a game-high 16 points, with Hinote scoring 12 and Reid Lamoureux 11. Eight points from Max Neese, seven from Wade Adcock, three from Mitchell Gorsuch and two from Tyler Beger capped the Ram scoring.

Perry will be back on the hardwood Friday when they host Carlisle in the boy/girls twin bill that will serve as the Raccoon River Conference opener for both squads.

More photos follow the box score.

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PERRY 67, GREENE COUNTY 59
at Jefferson, Dec. 1

PRY (67) — Long 2 0-0 6, Ivory 5 1-3 13, Puente 4 2-6 10, Rathje 5 2-4 15, Nevitt 5 0-0 11, Pierce 3 3-4 9, Nielsen 1 1-1 3, Dantzler 0 0-0 0, Riley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 9-18 67.
GC (59) — Hinote 12, Tucker 16, Beger 2, Lamoureux 11, Neese 8, Cunningham 0, Gorsuch 3, Adcock 7. Totals: 21 8-14 59.
Score at half: PRY 38-31.
3-pointers — PRY: 8 (Rathje 3, Ivory, Long 2, Nevitt); GC: 9 (n/a).

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