AMES — Given new life, Perry made sure their season would continue by rallying for a 68-63 overtime win against Gilbert in their Class 3A District 14 Final Thursday.
Gilbert’s Wes Greder missed a pair of foul shots with .6 seconds left in regulation, forcing four minutes of extra basketball. Perry (18-5) opened a seven-point lead, saw Gilbert (20-4) close to within a point, then finished with the final four points of the contest to secure a trip to Monday’s Substate 7 Final in Johnston, where the Bluejays will face DC-G (19-4). The Mustangs topped host Perry, 67-54, Dec. 9.
Tuesday’s game featured strong offensive runs from both teams. Perry held an 11-7 lead after one period and had a 26-23 advantage at half. Their margin had been 10 points before Gilbert finished the second quarter with a 7-0 run.
The Tigers scored 16 of their 18 third quarter points on second chances as the Bluejays disappeared under the defensive glass. The sudden flurry of offensive rebounds helped the Tigers turn a 41-all game after three frames into a 49-44 edge midway through the final quarter.
Junior guard Blake Lansing sank four 3-pointers in the game en route to leading all scorers with 22 points and his steal and quick triple helped spark a Perry comeback.
Gilbert led, 55-52, with two minutes to play when Ryan Rathje buried a trey from the right corner to tie the contest.
Perry grabbed a key rebound on the defensive end and attempted to run down the final 70 seconds of the game, but Dax Hatfield came up with a steal with seven seconds left and flipped the ball to Greder, who was fouled under the basket with .6 seconds remaining.
Greder, a 70 percent shooter at the line, missed the first probable game-winner, then missed the second after a Perry timeout to set up overtime.
Bluejay senior guard Will Whiton fired up a suddenly rejuvenated Perry team with a deep triple from the left wing shortly after play resumed, with Greder adding a hoop inside.
Ivory hit an inside shot and a pair of foul shots, with Whiton feeding Lansing under the hoop for another bucket as Perry surged to a 64-57 edge.
Greder and Jack Hoiberg each scored for the Tigers, with Ryan Blum adding two free throws as Perry missed consecutive front-ends of one-and-one free throws as the margin shrank to 64-63.
Two-time All-State center fielder Whiton flashed his baseball arm on the inbound play after the Blum free throws by firing a full-court strike to Rathje, who scored to make it 66-63, Perry. Ivory tipped the ball loose from Hatfield on the ensuing possession, with Whiton falling on the ball and calling a timeout.
Whiton was then fouled with 3.1 seconds left and drained both attempts at the line to secure the victory.
Aside from scoring, official numbers were not available at press time, but Perry clearly had an edge in steals, as the Tigers struggled to handle a speedy Bluejay defense. Ivory was unofficially credited with eight steals and Whiton with five.
Perry managed to win despite struggling again at the foul line, where the Jays finished 10-of-17 while the Tigers were 11-of-15.
Ivory had 19 points and Whiton 10, with Rathje adding nine poitns, Kyle Nevitt six and Scott James two.
Greder and Blum each had 17 for Gilbert, with Hoiberg providing 12 points.
Monday’s Substate 7 FInal in Johnston will begin at 7 p.m. A win would send Perry into the state tournament for the first time since 1988.