Wildcats fend off determined Jayettes in conference opener

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Perry senior Victoria Hegstrom makes a power move against Carlisle's Hailey Brunsen Friday during Raccoon River Conference action in the PHS gym Dec. 4.

Fans of girls basketball would be hard-pressed to find, in the past four or five years, a more entertaining rivalry than that of Perry vs. Carlisle.

Both teams have been stocked with talent in that span and have engaged in numerous tight battles which have created a grudging respect between the two Raccoon River Conference foes. While each squad lost several outstanding players to graduation last year, the hit taken by Perry was arguably the larger of the two, leaving Carlisle with an apparent advantage for the 2015-2016 matches.

However, based on Friday’s result, the difference between the two teams remains razor-thin, as a short run early in the fourth quarter was required for the Wildcats to escape their hosts with a 49-42 victory.

Perry senior Mariah Duffy drives past Carlisle Ceora LeClaire Friday in their Raccoon River Conference battle.
Perry senior Mariah Duffy drives past Carlisle Ceora LeClaire Friday in their Raccoon River Conference battle.

Both teams were sloppy from the floor, with Perry shooting just 16-of-38 and the visitors nearly the same. Each team left as many as a dozen or more points off the board with missed shots within a two steps of the basket, although tight defense was often the cause. Neither team was accurate at the foul line, with Perry hitting just 5-of-11 free throws and Carlisle 12-of-21, although the seven-point edge at the line for the guests helped provide the margin of victory.

Perry (1-2, 0-1) fell into a quick 7-2 hole but looked inside to Taylor Lathrum, who scored seven points under the basket that, when combined with the first of four Jo Diw 3-pointers, brought the hosts to within 11-10 after eight minutes of play.

The Jayettes held a 20-17 halftime lead and led, 28-24, with three minutes remaining in the third quarter when the offense suddenly shut down as the Wildcats packed in a zone defense to clamp down on Lathrum.

Perry trailed, 33-30, after three frames were complete and saw their deficit increase to 40-33 before the offense awoke. A Diw trey pulled the Jayettes to within 44-40, with a Lathrum basket cutting the gap to 46-42 with 31 seconds to play, but an errant show and a suddenly accurate stretch at the foul stripe from the Wildcats helped the guests pull away for the win.

Emma Olejniczak drives around Amber Kettering.
Emma Olejniczak drives around Amber Kettering.

Two-time All-State guard Agatha Beier led all scorers with 20 points for the guests, of which 10 came in the fourth quarter. Mackenzie Lose added 13 points and Ceora LeClaire nine for the guests.

Lathrum’s 16 led Perry, with Diw adding 12 points. Victoria Hegstrom and Emma Olejniczak contributed five points apiece, with four points from Mariah Duffy capping the Jayette scoring.

Lathrum added 11 rebounds for a double-double, with Hegstrom clearing six caroms and Alyssa Kruger and Grace Marburger five apiece. Marburger distributed five assists and Hegstrom three for Perry, who returns to action tonight with a trip to Des Moines Christian. The junior varsity game will tip at 4:30 p.m. with the varsity to follow.

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