Rathje drains five 3-pointers in third quarter, but saves his best for last

Perry topped Winterset, 70-62, but what will be remembered most is an unselfish act in the waning seconds that put sportmanship in the spotlight.

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Perry's Ryan Rathje scores two of his game-high 23 points against Winterset Friday. Rathje buried five consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter, but it was his unselfish play as time wound down that will be long remembered.

The Perry boys basketball team completed a season sweep of Raccoon River Conference foe Winterset with a 70-62 win Friday, a game in which Bluejay senior Ryan Rathje’s name will be forever entwined.

Rathje buried five consecutive 3-point shots in the third quarter as Perry turned a 28-27 halftime deficit into a 57-43 with an offensive eruption that lasted the full eight minutes of the third quarter.

However, it was Rathje’s intentional turnover with approximately 40 seconds remaining that has generated a buzz that is may, thanks to social media, spread across the country.

Perry senior guard Shammond Ivory finger rolls a pair of points Friday against RRC foe Winterset.
Perry senior guard Shammond Ivory finger rolls a pair of points Friday against RRC foe Winterset.

With Perry leading, 70-58, senior Ryan Hinsch was inserted into the Winterset lineup. A special needs student riding the end of the Huskies bench, Hinsch was clearly excited just to be on the floor. What followed had the fans of both teams on their feet and cheering loudly.

Hinsch was given a pass on the wing beyond the 3-point line, with Perry offering only token defense. His first two shots were off the mark, but Husky teammates made sure he received the ball each time.

Shot number three fell into Rathje’s hands. The 6-5 forward passed directly to Hinsch, then stood aside as the Winterset player dribbled in and scored, setting off a wild celebration on the Husky bench.

A Perry pass with 10 seconds left was intercepted, with Hinsch receiving an outlet pass near mid-court. Bluejay senior Solomon Pierce looked on without interfering as Hinsch raced to the basket and scored again as the final seconds ticked away, leading to an extended celebration of the moment and warm greetings for Rathje and several of the Perry players by the opposing coaches and players.

Rathje had scored just two points in Perry’s loss at ADM Thursday, but doubled that output in two minutes with a pair of buckets under the glass as the hosts snatched a 13-12 lead after one period.

Perry's Solomon Pierce puts up a shot in traffic as Winterset's Matt Baur defends during Friday's RRC contest.
Perry’s Solomon Pierce puts up a shot in traffic as Winterset’s Matt Baur defends during Friday’s RRC contest.

Perry then went frigid from the floor, missing 12 consecutive shots and committing two turnovers over a span of 10 possessions, but Winterset could turn the opportunity into just a four-point lead, at 27-23. The Jays scored four of the final five points in the half and were lucky to enter the intermission trailing only 28-27.

Then came the third quarter and the Ryan Rathje show. Four consecutive treys landed over a four-minute span as Perry suddenly burst to a 47-38 lead. Shammond Ivory and Kyle Nevitt caught the scoring itch as well, with Rathje tickling the twine for the fifth time for a 57-40 lead.

Winterset’s Casey Kleemeier sank a triple to make it 57-43, with Rathje finally missing from beyond the arc just before the end of the quarter.

The teams traded baskets throughout most of the final eight minutes, with an energized Perry defense keeping Winterset from making any kind of concentrated run. Baskets from Nevitt and Conner Nielsen gave Perry a 70-56 lead with 80 seconds remaining, with Nick Nelson scoring the final points before the stage was cleared for Hinsch.

The Huskies made the most of their trips to the free throw line, sinking 19-of-23 (82 percent) while the Bluejays — who connected on just 8-of-20 in Thursday’s loss at ADM — showed slight improvement by draining 16-of-29 (55 percent).

Justin Henry had 12 points, Kleemeier and Matt Baur 11 points apiece and Nelson 10 for the visitors. Daniel Brookhart added six points, Jaxon Nordstrom five and Grant Williams three, with Hinsch scoring four important points.

Rathje’s 23 points were a game-high, with Shammond Ivory contributing 19 points and Nevitt 12. Rashon Ivory and Janier Puente provided six points apiece, with two points each from Pierce and Nielsen capping the Perry scoring.

Nevitt had 11 rebounds, Rathje eight and Puente five, with Rashon Ivory dishing out five assists and Shammond Ivory four.

Both the boys and girls games Friday were “Coaches vs. Cancer” contests, with various activities held and announcements made, along with a guest speaker between games. A fundraising dinner was also held, with proceeds going to Relay For Life.

The Perry teachers donated a total of $430 dollars from a “jeans day” held Jan. 29, with fans at Friday’s game putting $480 dollars into buckets passed by the cheerleaders between games in a “48-second” drill.

Perry will visit Bondurant-Farrar Tuesday before hosting Boone Friday. The Bluejays will then entertain Saydel Feb. 16 in a boys-only JV/varsity set.

Video courtesy of Winterset Girls Basketball on Twitter.

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