PERRY TOWNSHIP – With an abundance of underclassmen, first-year Perry girls head basketball coach John Berens is expecting some growing pains.
In Perry’s season-opener Monday night, the Commodores went through some of those growing pains as Indian Lake’s defensive pressure and size helped pave the way for a 63-36 win over host Perry.
Indian Lake (2-0) had three players score in double figures. Kaylee Shelton led the Lakers with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Kristen Young had 12 points and eight boards. Kaitlyn Boberg added 11 points for Indian Lake.
Junior Tia Barfield led Perry (0-1) with 15 points and four steals. Teammate Makiah Denson added seven points.
“I think the kids might have been overtaken by the moment, a little bit,” Berens said. “We had two scrimmages leading up to this. I think they just got a little overwhelmed. But we’re young. We have a lot of things to work on, and we’ll get better. We’ll learn from this. This is a great learning experience for us, to see what we really need to work on.”
For the game, Perry turned the ball over 20 times. Eight first-quarter turnovers set the tone.
“I thought the early moments of the game dictated the way it was going to go,” Berens said. “I think once we settled down, we were OK. But that’s the way we have to play – try to turn teams over and get something out of the full-court (defensive pressure). With our size and experience, that’s the best play for us.”
Indian Lake started the game with a 6-0 run. Two early Perry turnovers resulted into quick transition baskets for the Lakers.
Indian Lake pushed its lead to 19-5 by the end of the first quarter. Shelton led Indian Lake with seven first-quarter points.
Indian Lake extended its lead to 37-15 by the halftime break. Kyleigh Huffer (nine points, three steals) hit three 3-pointers in the first half for Indian Lake.
As a team, Perry was 6 of 21 shooting from the field in the first half. For the game, the Commodores shot a dismal 28 percent from the floor. Indian Lake shot 46 percent from the field.
“We were getting good looks, but we just rushed some shots,” Berens said. “But we will just have to get back at it and shoot a ton at practice.”
Perry won the third quarter 12-9. Indian Lake’s lead was 46-27 at the third stop.
“We’ve been working on our pressure all preseason,” Indian Lake coach Nathaniel Tennant said. “It was effective early and we got a lot of deflections. We were very unselfish with the ball. We moved the ball around and got a lot of layups. Once
we pulled out of the full-court press, we still did a pretty good job of pressuring the ball and making it hard for them to make passes.”
Indian Lake dominated the boards, 46-17.
“Rebounding killed us,” Berens said. “We were down 20-9 at halftime (rebounds), and 11 of those were offensive rebounds. We just didn’t check anybody out. But we’ll get that corrected. We’ll be OK.”