Mustangs pull away late to take win from Bluejays

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Perry head coach Ned Menke addresses his team during a timeout at DC-G Dec. 8.Listening in for the Bluejays are Shammond Ivory (25), Connor Nielsen (43), Janier Puente (25), Solomon Pierce (31), Rashon Ivory (11), Kyle Nevitt (35), Ryan Rathje (33) and Alex Long (3).

GRIMES — The “old-timers” would say “Jefferson” or maybe “Carroll.” Most of the Perry athletes of this generation would say “ADM” if asked who their biggest rival was.

However, if the question were directed toward boys basketball, the answer would almost certainly be “DC-G.”

The Mustangs broke Bluejay hearts with a 73-70 overtime win in the Regional Finals last season. That loss left the returning Perry players itching for payback, and with only a few minutes left Tuesday evening it appeared some measure of revenge might be served.

Perry's Alex Long leads a secondary break with Janier Puente (25) and Rashon Ivory (11) also running the floor Tuesday in Grimes.
Perry’s Alex Long leads a secondary break with Janier Puente (25) and Rashon Ivory (11) also running the floor Tuesday in Grimes.

The hosts, however, had a different outcome in mind, and rallied in the final four minutes to slip away with a 67-62 victory.

The game was a back-and-forth affair from the beginning, with DC-G’s largest lead being seven points while Perry held no lead larger than six points.

Perry (2-1) was not crisp from outside, sinking just 7-of-28 3-pointers. The difference in the outcome may have come at the foul line, where the Bluejays hit 12-of-19 attempts, while the Mustangs drained 18-of-29, a six-point edge from the stripe in a game decided by five points.

DC-G (1-2) held a 35-31 halftime lead, but Perry surged to grab a 47-45 lead entering the final frame.

The Bluejays received exactly the kind of high-emotion impact play that often leads to victory when, early in the final frame, Rashon Ivory led a fast break and lobbed a perfect alley-oop pass to Kyle Nevitt, who threw down a two-handed dunk with authority. The play brought the Perry bench off their chairs and drew a loud response from a large Perry crowd — especially the sizable student section which made the trip.

Perry's Shammond Ivory floats for two of his 26 points against DC-G Tuesday. Ryan Rathje (33) and Janier Puent (25) look on for the Bluejays.
Perry’s Shammond Ivory floats for two of his 26 points against DC-G Tuesday. Ryan Rathje (33) and Janier Puent (25) look on for the Bluejays.

The Jays appeared to have made a defensive stop on the following possession — which could have had a big impact on Mustang morale — but a foul was whistled and the hosts were able to hit two foul shots and slow the pace, giving them time to recover.

Perry’s inability to grab defensive rebounds at key moments proved fatal down the stretch, as DC-G used second-chance points to slowly pull away and secure the win as they survived a final Bluejay rally that closed a six-point hole to three with 31 seconds remaining.

Doug Heritage had 25 points and Trey Washington 20 for the Mustangs, with Grant Shivvers adding 11 to aid the winning cause.

Shammond Ivory had 26 points for Perry, with Nevitt adding 13 and Ryan Rathje nine. Seven points apiece from Rashon Ivory and Janier Puente closed the Bluejay scoring as only five of nine Jays who saw playing time scored.

Puente and Rashon Ivory cleared seven rebounds apiece, with Nevitt and Rathje each grabbing five boards. Shammond Ivory had four assists in the game, with Alex Long providing two.

Perry travels to Ballard Friday before hosting Norwalk Tuesday and Carroll Dec. 18. A Saturday, Dec. 19 boys-only trip to Ogden (freshmen play at 12 p.m. with JV and varsity to follow) closing the first half of the campaign.

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