PERRY TOWNSHIP – Three-peat.
Perry notched its third consecutive outright Northwest Central Conference title after putting in a big defensive effort to down Lehman Catholic 46-32 Friday night.
With the win, the Commodores go to 7-0 on the season and improve to 13-3 for the year. Lehman falls to 11-3 for the year and 4-2 in conference play. Even though the Commodores have one remaining league contest they have a two-game advantage.
This is the Commodores sixth NWCC title in seven seasons.
“It is not easy,” Perry head coach Matt Tabler said. “Sometimes our league gets a bad rap but Friday nights are not easy. I give our kids credit because we are on a 27-game win streak in our league and a lot of these kids weren’t on those teams when we were winning the one and two and three and four so it was nice to get the third straight. That is our goal but we have a few more goals that we want to achieve and keep working hard and keep these kids hungry and see what we can do in the tournament.”
Coming off a 54-48 loss to Bath Tuesday night, Tabler challenged his team to up its defensive effort and they responded.
“We felt we left a lot of shooters open on Tuesday against Bath and a lot of things in the lane we weren’t accustomed to so we challenged our kids on Wednesday and Thursday and I thought they responded really well. They got out to shooters and they earned all their points.”
Offensively, the Commodores didn’t have the best night on the floor and Tabler credited the Lehman defense for their effort.
“Sidney Lehman plays a heck of a defense,” Tabler said. “We didn’t have any easy looks and I thought our best success came from sets. We when we kind of got away from 41 and the five motion we just did some one on one stuff but they made us change some shots at the rim. They are rim protectors.”
Perry’s Bubby Knight led the team with 16 points and Jefferey Simpson added 12 points.
For Lehman, Luke Franz scored 22 of the Cavaliers’ 32 points.
Perry’s defense was in top form right from the opening tip. Beginning with a full court press, Perry’s smothering pressure held the Cavaliers to two points in the first eight minutes as the Commodores built up a 12-2 advantage.
Lehman was 0-for-7 from the floor and its only points came on two free throws from Luke Frantz with 13 seconds left in the first quarter.
Perry’s defensive intensity continued into the second quarter and the Commodores built up a 23-2 advantage with 5:46 left in the first half after reeling off 11 unanswered points. In the run, Bubby Knight recorded five of those points.
The Cavaliers’ recorded its first field goal of the game at the 4:25 mark of the second quarter when Franz hit a 3-pointer. Franz, who finished with (((, had all but two of the Cavaliers 10 points in the first half.
By halftime, Perry led 25-10.
Even the Commodores had scoring points in the third quarter, the defense continued its tenacious pressure on the Cavaliers and Perry never saw its double-digit lead vanish. By the end of the third quarter, Perry led 35-18.