BATH TOWNSHIP — Basketball coaches preach about the importance of playing all four quarters of a game.
In Tuesday’s nonconference boys basketball game against Bath, Perry coach Matt Tabler emphasized that very point at halftime, when his Commodores were trailing Bath 32-31.
In the second half, Tabler’s players responded.
Perry came out, reclaimed the lead, and then held off Bath down the stretch for a hard-fought 66-58 victory.
With the win, Perry improves to 11-4 overall. Bath slips to 1-14.
The Commodores got off to a fast start, as they jumped out to an 11-0 lead.
However, Bath battled back and made it a close game the rest of the way.
“We talked to our kids about playing defense for 32 minutes,” Tabler said. “We showed what we can do in the first two or three minutes. We have to keep that intensity and pressure up for the full 32 minutes.
“Sometimes, I think our kids look at the scoreboard and get away from that. But we did make enough plays toward the end to win the game.”
Chazz Jackson led Perry with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Brayden Knight scored 14 points, including two 3-pointers. He also had five rebounds and four steals.
Jeffrey Simpson had 12 points and 10 boards. Will Knight scored 11. Terry Riley had 10 points and four steals for the Commodores.
Ian Armentrout led Bath with 12 points, including four 3-pointers. Lucas Prichard and Jonah Wauben each added 10 points. Derek Grigsby had nine points and 12 rebounds. Britton Hall had nine points, coming off the bench for the Wildcats.
Perry opened the game with that 11-0 run.
Bath did not register its first points of the contest until the 4:04 mark of the first quarter. Wauben completed an old-fashion 3-point play to make it 11-4.
Bath battled back.
By the end of the first quarter, Perry’s lead was 17-13.
Brayden Knight led the Commodores with seven first-quarter points. Bath was just 4 of 12 from the floor in the first eight minutes of action.
At the 6:58 mark of the second quarter, Bath cut it to 4, 19-15, on an inside move by Grigsby.
The Wildcats kept scrapping and clawing.
At the 5:08 mark of the second quarter, Carter Parlapiano (two points) scored on a strong inside move for Bath, to knot the game at 21.
With 3:34 left to play in the first half, Armentrout hit a 3-pointer to give Bath its first lead, 24-23.
About a minute later, Bath stretched its lead to 27-23 on another trey by Armentrout. Armentrout ended the first half with nine points, including three 3-pointers.
Bath slipped out with a hard-fought 32-31 lead by the halftime break.
Brayden Knight led the Commodores in the first half with nine points.
Bath was 11 of 28 shooting from the field in the first half, while Perry was 14 of 35 from the floor.
“We told our kids at halftime, ‘You put yourselves in a situation, where it’s going to be a battle’. So, we understood it was going to be a battle,” Tabler said. “We told them, ‘If you play Perry basketball for 16 minutes (in the second half), then you’ll come out on the winning side.”
It started to look like Perry might pull away, early in the third quarter.
A 3-pointer by Joey Hoersten (three points) with four minutes to go, made it 42-36 Commodores.
However, Bath would answer.
With 2:14 left in the third, Wauben completed another old-fashion 3-point play, to knot the game at 43.
The Wildcats trailed 47-45 by the end of the third quarter. A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Brayden Knight, gave the Commodores the 2-point lead.
The Commodores connected three times behind the arc in the third stanza.
Perry came out aggressive to start the fourth quarter.
The Commodores pulled out to a 54-45 lead within the first three minutes. Bath was limited to just two shot attempts in that stretch.
Perry’s defensive pressure took its toll on Bath. In the final eight minutes, the Wildcats turned the ball over eight times.
On the night, Bath committed 21 turnovers. Perry turned it over 14 times.
However, Bath made it interesting.
With 1:18 left to play, Armentrout canned his fourth 3-pointer of the game, that cut the Perry lead to 3, 59-56.
The Commodores were able to close it out at the free throw line. In the fourth quarter, Perry was 7 of 10 from the charity stripe.
For the game, Perry shot 40 percent from the field. Bath connected on 37 percent of its field goal attempts.
“I felt like we didn’t really handle the ball very well,” Tabler said. “We took some ill-advised shots toward the end. But, yet again, you’re going to get that with a young team.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.