PERRY TOWNSHIP — Fast and furious.
In the first quarter of Wednesday’s nonconference boys basketball game at Perry, Wapakoneta jumped out quickly on the Commodores.
Wapakoneta led by as many as 20 points in the first half.
However, a fast-and-furious finish by Perry gave the Redskins all they could handle down the stretch, as Wapakoneta slipped out with a hard-fought 66-62 victory over Perry.
Adam Scott, a 6-foot-5 post player, led Wapakoneta (5-2) and all scorers with 19 points, while pulling down six rebounds. Gage Schenk, Brady Erb and Reed Merricle each scored nine points for the Redskins. Erb and Merricle each had three 3-pointers.
Logan Dray had a huge second half for Perry (4-5), scoring 14 of his 17 total points. Dray knocked down five 3-pointers on the night. Jamal Whiteside scored 15 points, made three steals and dished out three assists. Louis Hoersten added 10 points and three boards for the Commodores.
“We didn’t lose our composure at the end, and we did a really nice job in that last couple minutes,” Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis said. “After they tied it up (60-60), we did a nice job of not folding there, and got a couple defensive stops.”
Schenk and Noah Ambos got the Redskins’ offense going early, scoring quick baskets at close range to push Wapakoneta out to a quick 4-0 lead.
Then came a barrage of 3-pointers by the Redskins.
Jace Copeland nailed two 3-pointers to lead the way. Scott also connected behind the 3-point line, to push the Wapakoneta lead to 15-3. Moments later, Erb hit a three from the right wing, pushing the bulge to 18-3, with a minute left to play in the first quarter.
In all, Wapakoneta made five 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of action to pull out to a 23-7 lead by the first stop.
“They were doing a lot of overplaying the ball-side and trapping us,” Davis said of Perry’s defensive effort. “So, we would just reverse the ball and find an open guy at the 3-point line.”
Perry struggled early, making just 2-of-9 shots from the field in the opening stanza.
Wapakoneta went into the halftime break with a 33-20 lead. Wapakoneta’s largest lead was 20. The Redskins were 12-of-22 shooting from the floor in the first half. Erb scored 9 points – on three 3-pointers – to lead the way.
Whiteside kept Perry in the hunt in the first half, scoring 12 points and making two steals at the defensive end.
The Commodores came out in the third quarter with a renewed sense of urgency.
Perry cut it to 7, 37-30, on a 3-pointer by Hoersten at the 6:20 mark of the third quarter.
However, Wapakoneta had an answer.
Scott poured in 12 points in the third quarter to help lead the Redskins to a 49-39 lead by the third stop. However, the Commodores outscored the Redskins 19-16 in the third frame.
Perry did not fold.
A 3-pointer by Dray at the 6:45 mark of the fourth quarter, pulled the Commodores to within 7, 49-42.
Moments later, Chazz Jackson nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 6, 51-45.
With 3:41 left to play in the game. Whiteside completed a 3-point play to pull the Commodores to within 4, 60-56.
Then seconds later, Nylan Cannon stole the ball, was fouled on a layup attempt and ended up making two free throws, and cutting the deficit to 60-58 with 3:20 left to play.
At the 2:08 mark, Hoersten drove to the basket and scored, knotting the game at 60.
However, an old-fashioned 3-point play by Schenk with less than two minutes to play in regulation, pushed the Redskins back out to a 63-60 lead.
From that point in the game, Wapakoneta was able to hang on for the win.
“The lead we got out to, of course, was the difference,” Davis said. “We came out shooting hot, but they (Perry) just kept chipping away.”
For the game, Wapakoneta shot 57 percent from the field. Perry shot 48 percent from the floor.
On the boards, Wapakoneta held a 24-19 edge.
Perry turned the ball over just nine times, while Wapakoneta committed 16 miscues.
Perry’s inaugural class of the Athletic Hall of Fame was inducted before the start of Wednesday’s varsity contest. The four inductees included Jim Conrad (Class of 2000 – basketball and baseball), Clay Tucker (Class of 1998 – basketball and
track), Linda (Horner) Hoersten (Class of 1991 – volleyball and basketball) and Duane Crowe (Class of 1981 – football, basketball, track).
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.