Opponent Wellington makes defense, rebounding big for Perry

PERRY TOWNSHIP — Perry has played bigger schools but not bigger teams than its Division IV boys basketball state semifinal opponent, The Wellington School, this season.

The Jaguars have a 6-foot, 9-inch player and a 6-7 player in their starting lineup and seven of their top nine players are 6-2 or taller.

Perry, with 6-4 Kobe Glover and 6-3 LaMonte′ Nichols as its big men, can counter that size with defensive pressure.

And coach Matt Tabler says there is something else the Commodores need to do on Thursday night against Wellington.

“We haven’t played anyone with this size. It’s one of those things where we’re going to have to be physical with this team. We’re going to have to box out man for man,” Tabler said.

“We’ve been out-sized in the postseason but not to this extreme. It’s one of those things where we’re going to need five guys rebounding. It’s just a ‘want’ for the ball,” he said.

Perry’s trip to the state tournament is the first in the school’s history in boys basketball. It came a year after the Commodores’ first regional appearance, which ended in the semifinals.

But this year they came out of the Kettering regional after beating Fort Loramie and Cincinnati Christian in a week of great emotion after the death of assistant Herb Lane Jr. in a car accident a day before the regional semifinal.

Some of the emotion of that week has carried over into this week.

“We had the showing on Saturday and Sunday and we had to try to squeeze a practice in on Saturday and then on Monday, that was the funeral where we filled the gym up and we had a practice on Monday,” Tabler said.

“We’re trying to refocus but it’s kind of been a routine — get ready for a game and then grieve the loss of a coach and then get ready for a game and grieve the loss of a coach. It has almost become normal,” he said. “We’re trying to get everything normal.

“I think the kids are ready and focused and ready to go. But at the same time you can never tell what’s going on in their head.”

Tabler said improved defense was one of the reasons the Commodores were able to win the regional trophy this year.

“I think defensively we’ve bought in a little better. Our role players are just tremendous on the defensive end,” he said. “One of the guys who who kind of goes under the radar is Lamonte’ Nichols. He’s kind of the unsung hero,” he said.

As far as being on the radar, Orion Monford has emerged as Perry’s leading scorer at 16.4 points a game.

“With the added defense and Orion’s defense and the work Jakoby Lane-Harvey put in during the summer, it made our basketball team much better,” Tabler said.

Like Delphos St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer, Tabler participated in the state tournament as a player. Tabler’s trips to state came with Lima Central Catholic in the early 1990s.

“It’s a lot easier as a player. You just went down and watched,” Tabler said. “You didn’t realize all the logistics.”

Former LCC coach Bob Seggerson and current Thunderbirds coach Frank Kill, who have coached in nine state tournaments between them, have offered advice and Seggerson talked to Perry’s team on Monday.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;

Perry coach Matt Tabler says Lamonte’ Nichols (33) is “kind of the unsung hero” for the Commodores.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/03/web1_Perry-Boys-BB-vs-Cincinnati-Christian-DS18-3.jpgPerry coach Matt Tabler says Lamonte’ Nichols (33) is “kind of the unsung hero” for the Commodores. Don Speck | The Lima News
Foe height makes defense, rebounding big for Perry

By Jim Naveau

[email protected]

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

Jim Naveau
Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.