CARLISLE — For the first 16 minutes Perry had complete control of Friday’s boys Raccoon River Conference cage contest with Carlisle. For the next 14 minutes Carlisle had control, but it was Perry’s resilience in the final two minutes that proved decisive as the Bluejays won a 72-69 contest that ended in most unusual fashion.
Max Evans scored for Carlisle (3-9, 3-5) with 3 minutes left in the game to complete a 19-point second-half rally for the Wildcats and tie the game at 60-all. Shammond Ivory sank two free throws and Kyle Nevitt added a bucket as Perry (8-6, 5-3) moved back in front, 64-60, with an Evans basket making it 64-62 before Alex Long and Ivory each drained a pair of foul shots to give Perry a 68-62 lead.
Noah Schmitt drained a 3-pointer for the hosts, with another Ivory foul shot moving the score to 69-65, but Cole Henderson added two free throws for the hosts with eight seconds left to trim the margin to 69-67.
Nevitt appeared to seal the outcome with a pair from the line with five seconds left, but Schmitt managed to score inside in what the clock showed was just a few ticks later to create a 71-69 score as Perry complained that the clock should have been running.
A Carlisle played intentionally swatted the ball away after the basket to draw a technical and thus stop the clock, but with under five seconds left the clock should not have stopped and Perry need not have tried to inbound the ball, thus winning as time expired.
As it was, Ivory was sent to the line, where he made the first of two shots for a 72-69 lead with .2 seconds on the clock.
Perry received possession because of the technical, but for some reason threw the ball off the low ceiling of the Carlisle gym.
Under normal circumstances possession would have reverted to the hosts, but with only .2 seconds left, not enough time (.3 is the minimum the rules allow) for a catch-and-shoot, and the officials declared the game over and sprinted off the floor as both crowds and both teams stood for a moment in a state of disbelief, as if unsure of what had just happened.
The ending blighted a brilliant first half from Perry and an equally impressive surge from Carlisle after the intermission. Perry led, 22-12, after one quarter and held a 43-24 halftime lead.
The Wildcats used a 16-2 run to close to within 45-40 late in the third. Three-pointers from Ivory and Conner Nielsen made it 51-40 as Perry responded sharply, only to have Carlisle trim their deficit to 52-47 entering the fourth period.
The architecture of the Carlisle gym makes it one of the noisiest in the state, and as the Wildcats clawed back to tie the game the noise reached a level not often heard at prep games.
Perry, to their credit, regained their composure and turned to their scoring leaders down the stretch, with Ivory scoring six of the final 12 Bluejay points while Nevitt added four and Long provided two clutch foul shots.
Ivory finished with a game-high 33 points and now has 1,491 in his career. Nevitt added 20 and Janier Puente seven, with Rashon Ivory tallying five points, Long four and Nielsen three.
Puente grabbed 10 rebounds and Nevitt six, with both Ivory brothers and Nielsen making three steals apiece. The Ivory brothers, Long and Ryan Rathje all had three assists each in aiding the winning cause.
Evans had 22 for Carlisle, with Schmitt adding 14 and Adam VanGorp 13. Henderson had eight points, Collin Lister and Jordan Pierce four apiece and Thomas Donovan and Jacob Howat two each.
Carlisle finished the game 19-of-29 at the charity stripe and Perry 18-of-29, but in the final two minutes the Jays sank 8-of-10 to help fend off the hosts and seize the win.
Perry hosts Ballard Tuesday before visiting Carroll Friday as conference play continues.