LIMA - Perry coach Matt Tabler wanted to see his team come out and play aggressive at both ends of the floor. His team did just that as Perry forced 25 turnovers away from Waynesfield-Goshen on its way to a 67-31 Northwest Central Conference victory.
“We had two goals tonight coming in and they were to attack the basket without settling for outside shots and to turn up the defensive pressure full court,” Tabler said. “I think we did both of those and that was the difference in the game.
Perry (4-1, 2-0 NWCC) got off to a hot start to begin the game. The Commodores took a 10-0 lead before the Tigers finally scored with 3:43 remaining in the first quarter. Bruce Hodges had eight points in the first quarter and his Commodores led 16-8 after one.
Hodges remained hot in the second quarter. After Waynesfield-Goshen cut Perry’s lead to 23-13, Hodges scored eight straight points for Perry in a span of 1 minute, 21 seconds. The senior scored 10 total points in the period to give him 18 points for the first half. Perry led 35-16 at half.
The Tigers made some halftime adjustments and had Jeron Hennon face-guarding Hodges for most of the second half. While that might have slowed Hodges down, it allowed for one of his teammates to get open and get hot from the floor.
Seth Poling, who was battling the flu earlier this week, showed up big time in the third quarter for the Commodores. The junior sunk a 3-pointer to begin the period and on the next possession was able to sink a jumper. A few minutes later, Poling made a layup and his free throw after being fouled on the play. He then hit back-to-back 3’s to give Perry a 51-23 lead with 1:58 left in the third. Poling finished the period with 14 points and his team led 51-28 after three.
“I’m a shooter so I came out and kept my head in the game and hit my shots,” Poling said. “It feels good, I’m a basketball player, and I don’t like to be off the court.”
Perry scored 16 more points in the third quarter while Waynesfield-Goshen was held to three points in the final period.
Hodges had a double-double for Perry with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Poling added 18 points and eight rebounds.
“We just practice on getting to the basket strong,” Hodges said. “We worked on jump-stops and pump-faking. We did the fundamentals really well tonight. We pride ourselves as a team on defense. Good defense leads to offense.”
Waynesfield-Goshen (0-5, 0-1 NWCC) was led by Lake Turner’s 12 points. Shawn Crawford added six points and Matt Spillman had five points for the Tigers.
“They (Perry) probably put the most pressure on us that we’ve seen defensively,” Waynesfield-Goshen coach Ryan Taylor said. “There are a lot of things we can improve on. We need to get better at the little things and the things we can control.”