Bluejays Win Battle of Birds, Claim RRC Title

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By Jeff Webster
ThePerryNews.com Sports

The Perry boys earned a measure of revenge Tuesday by knocking off visiting Bondurant-Farrar, 73-60, in a Raccoon River Conference cage thriller.

Adding to the sweetness of the payback for an 89-81 loss last month was that the RRC title was on the line, a crown Perry seized for the first time since 2003 with a brilliant third quarter performance.

Only two high schools in Iowa use “Bluejays” as their mascot, and the second meeting of the two this season played out in eerily similar fashion to the first, in that the first few minutes of the second half would prove decisive.

Perry (14-5, 10-3) survived a miserable shooting effort in the first half, in which the hosts sank just 3-of-17 3-pointers and missed repeatedly on put-back attempts from under the rim.

B-F (11-8, 8-5) lost their fourth consecutive conference game despite holding an 18-13 lead after one frame. Turnovers plagued the visiting Bluejays, who saw their advantage turned into a 28-26 halftime deficit as a timely trey from Ryan Rathje and two buckets in the paint from Jacob Clark fueled a Perry spurt.

Perry disappeared defensively in the third quarter of the first game between the two teams, with a 27-19 edge by B-F proving the difference. B-F finished with 13 more rebounds than Perry in their win and shot 20 additional free throws, resulting in a 13-point edge at the line.

While B-F attempted nine more free throws Tuesday, the result was put three more points than Perry, and far improved play off the glass helped the hosts stay in position for the victory.

Tuesday’s third period was all Perry, as Rathje and Blake Lansing each drained two emotionally-charged triples and Shammond Ivory scored six points of his own to break open the contest. Perry posted a 43-36 lead midway through the frame, then got the large and vocal crowd behind them as they rattled off a 16-5 run to close the stanza with a 59-41 advantage.

Dylon Story had burned Perry for 38 points in the Jan. 13 game, but scored less than half of that –17 points — by the Perry defense, with Will Whiton primarily responsible for tough man-to-man pressure.

Payton Duit had 14 points and Grant Peterson 12, but B-F could come no closer than 11 points down the stretch as Perry secured the RRC title. A win Friday at Boone would give Perry the outright claim to the crown.

Ivory led Perry with 20 points, with Lansing playing very well and adding 19 points. Rathje had 14 key points off the bench, with six bench points from Clark also proving critical.

Kyle Nevitt had six points, Whiton four and Zach Roberts and Scott James two apiece to cap the Perry scoring.
Whiton inked his name into the Perry record books by surpassing Brad Stracke’s 1988 mark for steals in a season (71). Whiton already holds the school mark for career thefts.

Perry will see Boone again Monday, when they battle the Toreadors, at Gilbert, at 6:30 p.m. in a District 14 Semifinal. The winner will meet the victor of Monday’s late game between Gilbert and Ballard on Feb. 26 at Ames at 7 p.m.

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