HARROD — A basketball coach always fears a letdown.
Perry, which came into Friday’s Division IV boys sectional title game against Ridgemont with a 15-game winning streak, was focused on taking care of business.
During the regular season, Perry dismantled Northwest Central Conference-foe Ridgemont 92-31.
Friday’s rematch wasn’t any different.
On Friday, Perry opened the game with a 22-0 run and went on for a convincing 80-31 victory over the Golden Gophers to win the sectional crown at Allen East.
Perry (20-3) will face Minster (13-9) on Tuesday at Wapakoneta in a Division IV district semifinal, with tip-off set for 6:15 p.m..
In Friday’s second sectional title game at Allen East, Minster slipped out with a hard-fought 54-48 win over Temple Christian.
Friday night, Perry’s tenacious defensive pressure helped pave the way for the explosive start. The Commodores’ pressure caused six first-quarter turnovers. For the game, Ridgemont turned the ball over 26 times.
Jakoby Lane-Harvey led Perry and all scorers with 25 points. The 6-foot Lane-Harvey also pulled down 10 rebounds, dished out nine assists and made three steals. Orion Monford scored 16 points and made four steals. Plummie Gardner added 12 points for the Commodores.
As a team, Perry shot 51 percent from the floor. Ridgemont shot 32 percent.
Perry, the No. 1 seed, had a bye in the first round of the tournament.
“I think the biggest concern for us was they (Ridgemont) already had a game under their belt,” Perry coach Matt Tabler said. “We’re not taking anything for granted in this tournament run. Sometimes high school kids overlook things. But, I thought we did a great job of focusing on what was on hand tonight. I felt like we came out with a lot of energy on the defensive end, which propelled our offense.”
Ridgemont did not score its first points until 33 seconds left in the first quarter. Ethan Mouser scored inside for the Golden Gophers to snap the nearly eight-minute drought.
By the halftime break, Perry’s lead was 50-12.
In the third quarter, Perry outscored Ridgemont 16-14, as the Golden Gophers settled down and handled Perry’s pressure a little better.
“In the second half, it was one of those things, where we were trying to work on a few certain things,” Tabler said. “And I just felt as though we became kind of like, ‘it’s a 30-point game, so I don’t have to do it’. That’s the first time it’s ever happened this year. We’ll get back tomorrow and we’ll correct some things.”
Perry dominated the boards, 39-20.
Cameron Smith led Ridgemont (6-18) with nine points.
Tabler was pleased how his guys stepped up when they needed to, especially Lane-Harvey.
“He’s the NWCC Player of the Year. Big players step up in games when you need them. And that’s exactly what he did tonight,” Tabler said.
Lane-Harvey feels that his team is starting to come together at the right time of the season. Last season, the Commodores made it all the way to the regional semifinals, before bowing out to Yellow Springs, 61-43.
“At the beginning of the season it was tough, knowing that we had a lot of scorers. But, we finally got our chemistry going,” he said.
Added Ridgemont coach Nick Stuck, “There was nothing surprising tonight, other than I thought we would respond better. These guys are 20-3 for a reason.”
Minster 54, Temple Christian 48
Minster came into Friday’s sectional title game with Temple Christian with the game plan of slowing down Temple Christian standout Brody Bowman.
However, Temple Christian had a couple other players step up and give Minster everything it could handle.
Down the stretch, however, Minster managed to stave off a pesky Temple Christian squad and come away with a hard-fought sectional title.
Aaron Ernst led Minster (13-9) with 13 points. Jarod Schulze, a 6-8 post player, added nine points and five boards for the Wildcats.
Noah Howell led Temple Christian (12-12) with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Bowman scored 11 points (seven points in the second half). Seth Hohlbein added nine points for the Pioneers.
“We were keying on No. 24 (Bowman), but (No.’s) 11 (Hohlbein) and 15 (Howell) really tore us up,” Minster coach Michael McClurg said. “They played well tonight.”
Minster, with its size advantage, wanted to pound the ball inside.
“The problem was, we couldn’t finish (shots inside the paint),” McClurg said. “It was just bouncing off the rim, bouncing off the rim. But, we finished it out in the end. And that was the most important thing.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.