PERRY TOWNSHIP — Perry got more, or in this case Rossy Moore, than it could handle from Lima Central Catholic after the Thunderbirds downed the Commodores 63-42 in the fourth annual Cross County rivalry Saturday.
With the win, LCC improves to 6-5 on the season and it marks the first time it has beaten Perry in the yearly event. Perry slips to 8-2 on the year.
LCC’s Moore scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Thunderbirds to victory. Evan Unruh added 12 points and Ryan Hines chipped in 10 points.
“This is probably the best we have played in a long time and Rossy Moore came out and set the tone,” LCC head coach Frank Kill said. “We kept talking about energy and excitement and that is what Rossy brings and tonight he came out and made some big shots and made some big three’s and he makes our team better.”
On the boards, freshman Billy Bourk continues to develop into a force underneath by grabbing eight rebounds and making three blocks.
“That was a great team win,” Kill added. “We rebounded well, and I think we rebounded well with Jefferey Simpson off the floor due to injury and that is a loss for coach Tabler. We beat a good team, obviously not at their fullest but we have to take advantage of it. I thought we rebounded and defended really well.”
Perry head coach Matt Tabler said there were no excuses for the loss despite having not played 12 days prior to Friday night’s win against Upper Scioto Valley and the loss of second leading scorer and top team rebounder Simpson.
“You can sit here and make excuses all you want but our whole theme this week was no excuses,” Tabler said. “We played a very good basketball team that is well coached and defensively they took us out of anything we wanted to do and we tried to spread it out and it didn’t help and it didn’t help that we just didn’t make shots. We had some open shots that if we make can loosen it up a little bit but when you give the defense missed shots like that they are going to feast off of that.”
The 42 points was the lowest offensive output for the Commodores this season and Perry came into the game averaging 67 points a game.
Bubby Knight led the Commodores in scoring with 15 points but like the rest of the team, struggled to score points throughout the night. Will Knight scored 11 points.
From behind the 3-point arc, Perry was 2 of 19.
Moore scored 10 of his points in the first quarter to give the Thunderbirds a 19-7 advantage after the first quarter.
In the second stanza, LCC opened up a 24-9 lead at the 5:53 mark and appeared to be ready to make this an early night. However, Perry produced a quick 10-1 run to slice the lead to 25-17 with 3:27 left in the half and the Commodores seemed to have gained momentum and its shooting touch.
However, the Thunderbirds regained their double digit lead after back-to-back buckets from Moore and by the time the buzzer sounded for halftime, LCC led 33-25.
Any Commodore momentum that was acquired in the second quarter was quickly quelled at the onset of the third quarter when LCC, again led by Moore, went on a 10-0 run to gain a 43-25 advantage. Perry did not score a basket until the 3:48 mark of the third quarter and managed only four points in the those eight minutes to grab a 24-point cushion, 53-29.
By picking up back-to-back wins Kill said he hopes this is the catalyst that can get his team moving in the right direction. The next two games for LCC will be Lima Senior and Elida.
“We talked about these two games being go-getters and we had to go and get them,” Kill said. “We know this next weekend we have Lima Senior and Elida and they are rivalry games and have a lot of value to them and these last two games we knew could propel us in the right direction and I think we are heading right there.”
As for Perry, Tabler said the Commodores will try to put this game behind them and get back to work on winning the Northwest Central Conference and a sectional title.
“We will go back to the drawing board. We will figure out some things and we will be OK,” Tabler said. “This was not one of our goals. Yes, we would like to beat LCC but we want to win a league championship and a sectional championship and those two goals are still out there.”