PERRY TOWNSHIP — Basketball players talk about being in the “zone.”
In Friday’s Division IV boys sectional final, Perry’s Brayden (“Bubby”) Knight was in the “twilight zone”.
Knight poured in a game-high 26 points, including eight 3-pointers to help lead Perry to an exciting 69-62 victory over Spencerville Friday night at Leonard V. Volbert Gymnasium.
Perry (18-4) will play St. Henry (17-7) on Tuesday at Wapakoneta in a Division IV district semifinal, with tip-off set for 5:30 p.m.
St. Henry defeated Fort Recovery in a sectional final on Friday, 59-38, to advance.
For the game, Brayden Knight was 9 of 13 shooting from the floor.
“When I get into a zone, I just keep it going,” Knight said. “When my team starts doing good, I start doing good. I cannot do it without my team.”
Brayden Knight had plenty of help Friday night.
Will Knight had 13 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists. Jefferey Simpson scored 12 points, pulled down six boards and had two blocks. Ryan Yingst added eight points and seven rebounds for the Commodores.
Perry head coach Matt Tabler praised Brayden Knight’s effort.
“We’ve had a good history with point guards here at Perry, since I’ve been here for 14 years. But boy, he (Brayden Knight) lived up to the hype tonight. He made some big, big plays for us,” Tabler said.
Dalton Prichard led Spencerville (8-16) with 25 points, including three 3-pointers. The 6-foot-3 senior also came away with six rebounds. Josh Henline scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Dylan Smith had 11 points with three shots behind the arc. Smith also dished out five assists for the Bearcats.
The fast and furious pace in the first quarter set the tone.
Brayden Knight connected four times behind the 3-point line to jumpstart the Commodores in the opening quarter.
Despite the torrid start for Perry, Spencerville stayed in the hunt.
The lead changed hands seven times before Perry finally slipped out with a 22-18 lead at the first stop.
Both teams shot well in the first eight minutes.
Perry was 8 of 12 from the floor, while Spencerville was 7 of 12.
Brayden Knight led Perry with 12 first-quarter points. Prichard led the Bearcats with eight markers.
Perry started to pull away in the second quarter.
By the halftime break, Perry had stretched its lead to 41-29.
Brayden Knight nailed his sixth 3-pointer of the contest, right at the halftime buzzer to give his team the 12-point advantage.
For the half, Perry was 14 of 21 from the floor for 67-percent shooting.
Will Knight scored seven of his nine first-half points in the second stanza. Brayden Knight led Perry in the first half with 20 points, including six shots from the arc.
Spencerville ended the half, shooting 50 percent from the floor (11 of 22).
“Especially the first quarter - it was a really fun, back-and-forth kind of thing,” Spencerville head coach Kevin Sensabaugh said. “But I knew that if they scored 22 in the first quarter, we probably couldn’t keep up with that pace. I knew that, but give Bubby (Knight) credit. He just made them. It wasn’t like he was unguarded. He had hands in his face, and it was just one of those nights.”
Perry led 54-41 at the end of three quarters of action.
Prichard paced the Bearcats with 10 third-quarter points.
Spencerville was not done.
The Bearcats made a run in the final eight minutes.
With 3:32 left to play in the game, Henline hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key to cut the Perry lead to 7, 60-53.
With 30 seconds left to play, Keegan Goecke (six points, four rebounds) scored down low to cut it to 6, 66-60.
Then with 20 seconds left, Prichard scored down low after a steal to cut it to 4, 66-62.
But Perry was able to hang on for the thrilling win.
“That’s tournament basketball, right there for you,” Tabler said. “Both teams came out red hot. Bubby was hitting shots with a hand in his face. They came down and answered every one of our shots. But that’s tournament basketball, and that’s what we told our kids. … Everybody is scrapping to get three more days of practice; and everyone played like that. That was a great tournament basketball game.”
For the game, Perry shot 55 percent from the field. Spencerville connected on 52 percent of its field goal attempts.
Both teams committed 12 turnovers on the night.
Perry won the boards, 27-20.
“We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the basketball down toward the end, but we did enough – and he (Brayden Knight) did enough in the first half to propel us to this win,” Tabler said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.