PERRY TOWNSHIP — It was a simple change of defenses, caused by necessity, and it completely changed the course of the game.
Perry was forced to change from its man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone after Bath shredded its man for 19 first quarter points. Bath would manage only 32 points during the final three periods and the result was a Commodore 73-51 victory Tuesday night at Leonard Volbert Gymnasium.
Besides the big win itself, a big highlight was senior Jared Poling becoming the all-time scoring leader at Perry when he connected on a three-pointer with 4:07 left in the first quarter. Poling now has 1,257 points and surpassed Jimmy Conrad, the previous leader who scored 1,242 career points.
“It’s an amazing feeling and a big accomplishment,” Poling said. “I got great passes from my teammates and wanted to get it over with so we could just play basketball.”
Perry ripped off its 13th win in a row after opening the season with three straight losses while the Wildcats fell to 3-12 on the year.
Bath was bigger and stronger than Perry but the Wildcats had no answer for the Perry quickness as the Commodores pushed the ball and got open looks all game long. Perry shot 60 percent from the floor in the game as it connected on 28-of-46 from the field including 8-of-9 on 3-point shots.
The Wildcats stayed close for one quarter as Andrew Renner opened with a 10-point first quarter that kept Bath within 20-19 after one period of play. Renner would go on to total 20 points in the contest.
The Wildcats went ice cold for the middle two quarters as they hit on only 5-of-20 field goals and totaled 5 and 10 points to trail 50-34 going to the final period of play.
“We have trouble consistently scoring; there is no magic answer but that team is good.” Bath coach Shawn Allen said. “We are inconsistent and need to play perfect to win; we are trying to get new people and new faces in at the varsity level.”
Perry got balanced scoring as four players reached double figures in the contest. Jakoby Lane-Harvey led the way with a game-high 21 points while Poling added 19, Plummie Gardner totaled 17 and Xavier Monford chipped in with 12 points.
“Our 2-3 zone defense kept them from getting to the basket,” Perry coach Matt Tabler said. “Then our transition game kicked in and we got good looks at the basket that we converted.”
Bath shot 40 percent on 20-of-48 from the field but committed 17 turnovers to only 11 for Perry. Bath pulled down 29 rebounds while Perry managed 27 in the game.