PERRY TOWNSHIP — Shawnee coach Mark Triplett knew that his team would have their hands full against a tough Perry squad. The Indians were able to force 22 turnovers against Perry and get some good looks from the floor on their way to a 66-54 victory in this non-conference showdown at Perry.
“We’ve been preaching since the start of our training camp to get after people and force turnovers,” Triplett said. “We do that and get out in transition, and we like playing that style of basketball. We like to be aggressive on the defensive end, and we did a nice job of that tonight.”
Shawnee (3-4) got off to a hot start to begin the first quarter.
After Perry took a 5-2 lead, Shawnee went on a 13-0 run to make the score 17-5 with 3:00 left in the quarter. After Perry called a timeout, they went on an 11-2 run to finish out the first quarter.
JaQuan Tucker had 12 points in the period as Shawnee led 19-16 after one.
“Coach told me that I had to get off to a good start tonight, and I think I did,” Tucker said. “All we’ve been doing is practicing defense and coach Triplett always talks about defense. We caused some turnovers, and we executed off of those turnovers.”
Perry (5-2) got off to another slow start to begin the second quarter as they allowed Shawnee to get off to a 5-0 run to begin the quarter.
After Shawnee got up to a 24-16 lead, Emanuel Luster was able to score for Perry. Angelo Fox answered back for the Indians to give Shawnee a 26-20 lead with 5:39 left in the half. Bruce Hodges scored for Perry and two possessions later Jakoby Harvey made one of his two free-throw attempts. A few possessions later Jared Poling drilled a three to cut the Shawnee lead to 26-24 with 4:22 remaining.
The score was tied at 26 at the half.
Both teams battled back and forth during the third quarter. The Indians were able to end the third quarter on a 6-1 run. Shawnee led 43-39 after three.
Shawnee was able to hold onto their lead during the fourth quarter. Shawnee outscored Perry 23-15 during the final period of play.
Fox put an exclamation point on the win for Shawnee with a monstrous slam dunk with 50 seconds left in the game. Fox scored nine points off the bench for Shawnee and also grabbed 11 rebounds.
“The starters got off to a good start out there today,” Fox said. “I know that I have to do my best to keep us in that lead. I don’t want to let anybody on my team down. The dunk felt great. Trey Brock wanted me to pass it to him so he could dunk but I didn’t want to risk it and I just went for it.”
Tucker scored a game-high 28 points for Shawnee. Trey Brock had 11 while Brennan Gaffer scored nine.
“We knew that Perry was a well-coached team and their kids play so hard,” Triplett said. “They crash the boards, and we knew that they were going to be ready for us. This was a big win over a really good basketball team for us.”
Poling led Perry with 26 points. Hodges added 18 points while Luster had seven.
“This game was really disappointing because I don’t think this was a true representation of our basketball team,” Perry coach Matt Tabler said. “Give credit to Shawnee because their pressure forced us into way too many turnovers and bad shots. We’ll learn from it and get better.”