PERRY TOWNSHIP – Last basketball season, Perry girls head coach John Berens was going through some growing pains, with a very young and inexperienced roster.
The Commodores won just two games last year.
Fast forward one year – the sophomores are now juniors and the juniors are now seniors.
In Monday’s nonconference matchup with visiting Pandora-Gilboa, Perry displayed how one year can make a difference, as the Commodores pulled away from P-G for a 46-34 victory at Leonard V. Volbert Gymnasium.
Tia Barfield led Perry (3-2) and all scorers with 21 points. The 5-foot, 6-inch Barfield also came away with nine rebounds and two steals. Zierre Thompson scored 10 points, including 8 of 11 shooting from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Lily Floyd had eight points (including two 3-pointers), 10 rebounds and two steals for the Commodores.
Perry scored in different ways against P-G.
“We try to play as much as we can in transition,” Berens said. “I’d rather not run (half-court) offense, if I can. I’d rather try to score off transition, and try to press a little bit. But it dictated tonight, that we play a little more zone. We were still able to get out into transition a little bit.”
Barfield got the Commodores going, early on. The senior Barfield scored eight first-quarter points to lead Perry to a 13-7 advantage by the first stop.
Pandora-Gilboa (0-5) struggled at the offensive end. The Rockets were 2 of 9 from the floor in the first eight minutes of action. Perry was 6 of 17 from the floor.
P-G made a couple small runs in the second stanza. However, the Commodores were able to answer each one of those runs.
Perry did not shoot exceptionally well in the first half (10 of 28). However, the Commodores connected when the Rockets made their runs.
Perry, behind the outside shooting of Floyd and Brooke Miller (five points), slipped out with a 26-19 halftime advantage. Floyd connected twice behind the 3-point line for the Commodores in the second quarter, while Miller also drained a 3-pointer.
Lacie Fenstermaker paced P-G in the first half with eight points, eight rebounds and two steals. Fenstermaker went on to score 11 points and pulled down a game-high 13 boards.
“The game plan was to double her (Fenstermaker) as much as possible,” Berens said. “Coming in, we knew she was the key to her team.”
Alexis Augsburger led P-G with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. She also pulled down five rebounds.
P-G cut it to 4, 28-24, with 4:30 left in the third quarter, on a 3-pointer by Augsburger.
The Commodores responded.
Moments later, Barfield hit a 3-pointer to push the Perry lead to 31-24.
Barfield’s seven third-quarter points helped propel Perry to a 35-25 lead by the end of the third stanza.
Perry helped forced P-G into seven third-quarter turnovers.
For the game, the Rockets turned the ball over 19 times. Perry turned it over 13 times.
Perry recorded nine of its 11 fourth-quarter points at the charity stripe.
On the night, Perry shot 32 percent from the field. P-G shot 24 percent from the floor.
“We played a lot of sophomores and juniors last year,” Berens said. “They worked hard in the summer. They’re very hard workers, very coachable, and they’re continuing to get better.”
Berens feels his team is making progress.
“We’re getting closer. I think we are a lot closer than we were last year at this time. We’re very pleased with the kids’ effort so far, and hopefully they will continue to get better,” he said.