ADEL — The bad taste has finally been washed away.
The Perry boys basketball team had been living for almost a year with the residue of a 73-70 overtime loss to DC-G in the Substate Finals last season, a setback followed by a five-point loss in Grimes Dec. 8 of this season, leaving the Bluejay seniors wondering if they would ever top the Mustangs in their high school career.
With those factors in play, it would be hard to blame the Perry players for the raucous post game locker room reaction that could clearly be heard in the hallways at ADM Monday after the Bluejays eliminated their nemesis with a 57-50 win in a Class 3A District 15 Semifinal.
“This is a win we have wanted for a long time,” Perry senior Ryan Rathje said. “To have it be the last time we are going to play them and to have it in the playoffs just makes it that much sweeter.”
Perry (13-9) might have expected to get another revenge-shot Thursday by facing ADM, who had twice defeated the Jays in RRC play. However, Boone (8-14) reminded everyone just how dangerous the Toreadors can be by stunning ADM (13-9), 67-58, in Monday’s second game.
Perry and Boone will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. in Johnston for the District 15 title. Boone topped visiting Perry by 19 points in their first meeting, only to have Perry explode for a 29-point win in the rematch.
“We will need to come out as ready to play Thursday as we did tonight if we want to achieve our goals and keep our season going,” Perry head coach Ned Menke said of meeting Boone for the third time. “We know how tough they can be, but I think we will be ready. I really like our mindset right now.”
That mindset helped Perry take a 6-4 lead on a Shammond Ivory dunk two minutes into the game, a lead the Bluejays would never relinquish.
“Coach Menke told us ‘When we get the lead we need to keep the pressure on all the way’ and that is what we did,” Ivory said. “We were playing hard on defense and I think that might have bothered them. This is a great win for us and we are happy but we are not satisfied … not yet.”
Perry went on a 10-0 run after the Ivory steal and breakaway flush and held a 16-7 lead after one quarter. Eight minutes later the lead was 28-21 at the break, with DC-G closing to within 35-32 late in the third quarter before Perry scored twice for a 39-32 advantage entering the final frame.
Ivory picked up his fourth foul with 5:08 to play and Rathje his fourth 17 seconds later to give the Mustangs some momentum. DC-G recovered seven consecutive offensive rebounds in a brief stretch — several off of missed free throws — and scored seven straight points to close to within 48-44 with 3:20 still on the clock.
An Ivory free throw and Kyle Nevitt basket pushed the score to 51-44, but Doug Heritage sank a 3-pointer to bring DC-G within range again, this time at 51-47 with two minutes to play.
Ivory hit 3-of-4 at the line and Nevitt scored twice from the stripe after missed shots on consecutive possession by the Mustangs as Perry opened a 56-47 gap with 38 seconds to go. The teams traded foul shots over the final 29 seconds to set the final score and lead to an emotional celebration on the floor by the Jays.
Perry hit 7-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter and was 16-of-24 at the line overall while DC-G (11-11) connected on just 7-of-17.
Junior guard Trey Washington had burned Perry for 21 points in the substate loss last year and had 18 against the Jays earlier this season, with nine rebounds and five assists in both games. On Monday he was held scoreless, with Heritage — who had 25 points in the December game — joined by Grant Shivvers Monday in leading DC-G with 12 points.
Anthony Jacobsen had 11 points and Steve Broneman 10, with Callen Betrand adding five points.
Ivory’s 21 points came along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, with Nevitt adding 13 points and six rebounds and Janier Puente 10 points and seven boards. Rathje had five points and three blocked shots and Rashon Ivory five points and four assists, with Solomon Pierce adding two points and Alex Long one.
Thursday’s Perry vs. Boone winner will advance to the Substate 8 Final Monday at 7 p.m. at a site yet to be determined. In District 16 action Monday, Glenwood (18-4) blasted Creston, 76-38, while Atlantic (18-4) ripped Winterset, 59-39. The two rivals — who split during the regular season — will meet Thursday at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln.