Using what head coach Ned Menke termed a “gutsy” performance, Perry erased a five-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to outscore visiting Carroll, 26-15, down the stretch en route to a 79-73 victory Friday.
“That was a gutsy effort,” Menke said. “We might have learned something about ourselves tonight.”
Perry’s fourth quarter Friday was markedly different from their final eight minutes against visiting Norwalk Tuesday. In that game, the Jays scored 23 points, but allowed 30 and saw a five-point lead turned into a two-point loss.
A hustling defense, improved rebounding and clutch shooting insured their would be no repeat performance Friday against Carroll (2-4, 0-3). Perry outscored the Tigers, 14-2, in first four minutes of the game and 13-7 over the final four, and while that left the guests with an otherwise impressive 64-52 scoring edge in the intervening 24 minutes, that margin was not enough to deliver a victory.
Perry (3-3, 2-1) drained nine 3-point baskets in the win, but had trouble containing the outside shooting of Dayton Ross and Tanner White, who finished with 29 and 26 points, respectively, as the Tigers splashed 13 3-point shots of their own.
Ross helped bring the Tigers to within 16-15 at the end of one quarter, which Perry had opened on a 14-2 run. By the half the guests were ahead, 35-30, and while the Jays clawed back to take a 49-48 lead, the Tigers burst to a 58-53 advantage after 24 minutes of action.
Both teams splashed clutch 3-point shots in the early stages of the fourth, and there was no lack of smack talk on the court as the bitter rivals began to trade bombs.
Ryan Rathje landed two treys during a Perry run that gave the Jays a 66-63 lead, but Cooper Ross hit a triple to tie the game at 66-all. A Shammond Ivory basket and a dunk and a Kyle Nevitt hoop helped Perry move into a 72-68 lead before White nailed a trey to trim the gap to 72-71.
Nevitt then drove the baseline and hammered a dunk for a 74-71 Perry lead, with Conner Nielsen hitting one-of-two foul shots and Ivory one-of-two, twice, as the lead swelled to 77-71.
The Bluejay defense had denied open looks over the key two-minute run that brought the clock to under 30 seconds. Rathje’s third block and two Alex Long free throws moved the Jays to a 79-71 lead, with Carroll adding a final hoop as time wound down, allowing Perry to post a win despite the hosts sinking just 14 of their 27 attempted foul shots.
Nevitt found room inside and finished with a team-high 24 points while tallying four assists, with Ivory adding 21 points. Rathje had an outstanding all-around game, pouring in 15 points, clearing 13 rebounds and making five assists while swatting three shots.
Long had an excellent outing as well, with seven points and six assist while doing much of the ball handling. Often the smallest player on the floor, the senior guard hustled his way to eight important rebounds to aid the winning cause.
Ten points from Janier Puente and two from Nielsen capped the Bluejay scoring.
Cooper Ross and Kolby Molinsky each had eight points for Carroll, with Chris Onken adding two points.
The Perry junior varsity will play at Ogden at 12 p.m. today, with the varsity game to follow. The non-conference tilt will be the final pre-holiday action for the Bluejays.
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