PERRY TOWNSHIP — After this past Saturday’s 60-42 loss to Fort Loramie, Perry boys basketball coach Matt Tabler decided it was time to get back to the basics.
Tabler’s Commodores responded in Tuesday’s 45-39 nonconference victory against visiting Miller City at Leonard V. Volbert Gymnasium.
Perry did not scorch the nets Tuesday night, but its effort at the defensive end and on the boards, helped pave the way for a hard-fought win over the Wildcats.
“I think it was a real turning point on Saturday against Fort Loramie,” Tabler said. “I’ve never seen a Perry team, since I’ve been the coach, that had so many uncontested layups, because of bad rotations. We really challenged our kids, but we also got back to basics in coaching our kids.
“We thought maybe we got a little too advanced with our kids. But tonight’s defensive effort was probably one of the best defensive efforts that I’ve seen from a Perry basketball team. Obviously, we hold our hats on that (defensive effort), because that gets our transition going.”
Perry had three players score in double figures Tuesday night.
Brayden Knight led Perry (13-6) with 16 points and four steals. Terry Riley scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Riley also had five rebounds and two steals. Ryan Yingst had 10 points, eight boards and three steals for the Commodores.
Zach Fillinger led Miller City (11-9) with 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Jacob Koenig had nine points and four rebounds for the Wildcats.
Miller City opened the game on a 6-0 spurt. Jon Burgei (six points, seven rebounds) had two field goals in that time span for the Wildcats.
The Commodores cut the deficit to 2, twice in the first quarter.
Then, with 38 seconds left to play in the opening stanza, Riley scored off the dribble to knot the game at 8.
Braden Yingst (three points), Ryan Yingst’s twin brother, gave Perry its first lead of the game, 11-8, on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter.
Burgei led the Wildcats in the first eight minutes of action with six points. Will Knight led Perry with four first-quarter points.
Miller City came roaring back.
A little more than two minutes into the second quarter, Austin Ruhe (seven points, four boards) hit a 3-pointer to give Miller City a 13-11 lead.
Perry had an answer.
Brayden Knight nailed a trey to give Perry the lead, 14-13.
Miller City came right back.
Fillinger hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to reclaim the lead for the Wildcats, 16-14.
The lead changed hands three more times before Perry slipped out with a 19-18 advantage by the halftime break.
Perry was 7 of 19 shooting (37 percent) from the field in the first half. Miller City connected on 8 of 22 (36 percent) from the floor.
In the third quarter, Miller City claimed the early lead.
However, Perry’s defensive pressure helped cause a few early turnovers, which turned into quick baskets.
The Commodores pulled out to a 27-23 lead, midway through the third.
Brayden Knight scored off two steals to lead the charge for Perry. He went on to score nine third-quarter points.
“Bubby (Brayden Knight) is a gambling kind of guy,” Tabler said. “We just say, ‘With your quickness and your hand speed, if you just stay in front of them, you will get pass deflections’.”
Miller City battled back.
By the end of the third quarter, the Perry lead was cut to 4, 32-28. Fillinger and TJ Michel each had 3-pointers for the Wildcats in the third quarter.
Tabler said his team tends to get a little tentative when facing a zone defense.
“Sometimes teams will sit back in their zones, and our kids get a little complacent,” Tabler said. “We really attack the rim against the man-to-man. When we face a zone, sometimes we don’t want to attack it.
“We kind of went into our man offense, versus their zone. That kind of got our guys feeling a little better, and we got some uncontested 12-footers.”
In the fourth quarter, Perry held Miller City to just 2 of 9 shooting from the floor.
For the game, Perry shot 38 percent from the field. Miller City connected on 30 percent of its field goal attempts.
Perry turned the ball over 15 times. Miller City had 14 miscues.
The Commodores controlled the boards, 36-25.
A big part of Perry’s edge on the boards was a result from the effort of Ryan Yingst, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, who is coming back from a knee injury.
“Ryan is slowly working himself back in,” Tabler said. “We don’t think he is full strength right now. … The muscle still needs to keep building up. That will be a big part of us knocking down shots, if we can get him inside and give him the ball. He’s a threat to score, but he can also kick it out to the other guys for the outside shot.”
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