If Perry’s 54-48 boys basketball win over Lima Central Catholic on Saturday was a weather report, it would have started out with scorching temperatures, dipped below freezing in the middle of the day, then returned to blazing hot again later in the day.
One hot streak at the start of the game and another in the opening minutes of the second half powered the Commodores (8-3) past the Thunderbirds (6-5) for the second straight season.
Perry jumped out to a 13-2 lead in first six minutes of the game. Then, after scoring just one point in the second quarter, which allowed LCC to take a 20-18 halftime lead, it turned up the heat again at the start of the third quarter.
And this time, LCC couldn’t come back.
The Commodores hit seven of their first eight shots in the second half, including five 3-pointers in the first four minutes, also known as the Jamal Whiteside and Chazz Jackson Show.
Whiteside, who led Perry with 25 points, and Jackson, who had 19 points, scored all 23 of the Commodores’ points in the third quarter.
Once shots start falling, shooters keep shooting. “Got to,” Whiteside said. “When I feel hot, I’ve got to shoot it.”
Perry coach Matt Tabler said, “We told our kids at halftime we only scored one point (in the second quarter) but we’re still only down two. We’re not going to stay this cold. Keep shooting with confidence, keep attacking the rim and the kids did. And Jamal and Chazz got hot in the third quarter.”
The Commodores led by 10 points, 41-31, after three quarters and were up by 11 early in the fourth quarter.
But then LCC’s defensive quickness started to take a toll. The Thunderbirds got three consecutive hoops after Perry turnovers to cut the lead to two points, 47-45, with two minutes to play. But that was as close as they could get.
“We made some mistakes but that’s what battle tests you as a team,” Tabler said. “This is what helps you win big games and helps you win tournament games when a team is trying to come back and apply a little pressure.
“We tell our kids it’s going to be a 32-minute game. You don’t want to get too high or too low. You want to keep fighting and I think that’s what we did,” he said.
LCC coach Frank Kill said, “They came out in that third quarter knocking down those shots we were kind of giving up in the first half. We were hoping they would take deep shots. Jamal and Chazz are two nice players and we didn’t match their energy and that was very evident.
“We just didn’t come out in the third quarter. I thought that was the difference maker,” he said.
Bigzz Johnson led LCC with 13 points. Rossy Moore scored 11 points and had nine rebounds. Shaun Thomas had 10 points.
Perry shot 45 percent on field goals (18 of 40) and LCC hit 36 percent (21 of 57). The Commodores had a 28-27 rebounding edge, led by Louie Hoersten with eight. Perry had 19 turnovers and LCC had 14.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.