ADEL — Thursday’s much-anticipated rematch between Perry and ADM gave the moderately-sized crowd that gathered for the contest plenty of excellent basketball — and some that was not so crisp.
ADM (10-7, 9-2) received an outstanding performance from junior Tajen Ross and solid play from Matthew Larson and Payton Conrad to stay just out of the reach of Perry (9-8, 6-5) over the final 20 minutes of play to score a 74-68 victory.
The win came 30 days after a 78-66 ADM win in Perry and was fueled in no small part by Ross, who led all scorers with 34 points while Larson added 16 points and Conrad 13.
Perry, doubtless, will blame themselves for the loss and for good reason, as the Bluejays missed 14 free throws in the game, several at key moments in the fourth quarter, during which the outcome remained in doubt until the final 20 seconds.
The hosts burst to a quick 15-5 lead, but Perry scored the final seven points of the first frame to trail just 15-12 after eight minutes.
A Kyle Nevitt 3-pointer and Rashon Ivory bucket gave Perry a 25-24 lead midway through the second period, with the teams exchanging the lead until ADM entered the break with a 31-30 edge.
ADM went up by as many as eight points in the third quarter, but seven points from Shammond Ivory — who finished with 31 points — brought Perry to within a basket, at 49-47, entering the final quarter.
Ross hit for nine points and Larson for five as the hosts seized a 63-53 lead early in the fourth period, but the Ivory brothers whittled away at the deficit, which shrank to 65-63 after Conner Nielsen hit a 3-pointer following a thunderous breakaway dunk from Solomon Pierce.
The teams traded scores until Larson made four foul shots on two possessions for a 71-65 ADM lead with 50 seconds to play.
Perry missed four key free throws in the prior two minutes and were then burned by Ross on defense, as the junior made a key steal for a 73-65 Tiger advantage. Shammond Ivory drained a trey with 12 seconds to play, but Conrad made a foul shot with eight seconds left to seal the final score.
Shammond Ivory had just 12 points in the first meeting while battling foul trouble, but upped his output to 31 in the rematch. The difference for Perry came in the trio of Nevitt, Janier Puente and Ryan Rathje, who accounted for 51 of the 66 Bluejay points in the first game but were held to a combined 17 points Thursday, 21 below their combined averages.
Nevitt had 11 for Perry, with Rashon Ivory and Nielsen scoring eight points apiece, with Pierce and Puente adding four points apiece and Rathje two.
The Tiger trio of Ross, Larson and Conrad had a combined 45 points in the first game before pouring in 63 Thursday.
Perry will return to action tonight when they host Winterset. A visit to Bondurant-Farrar is scheduled for Tuesday, with Boone to visit Feb. 12. The Bluejays will cap their regular season with a boys-only JV/varsity set against visiting Saydel Feb. 16.