Peru’s boys basketball players gave a winning effort Friday night.
Today, they should have the floor burns and bruises to prove it.
Peru sprinted to a 10-point lead at halftime, then the Bengal Tigers used their hustle and some key shots in the second half to maintain their lead the entire way and close out a 57-53 victory at Western.
“It was probably the most complete game we played this year,” Peru coach Jim Metcalfe said. “We had eight guys contribute in some shape or form, just a great team win for our guys.
“We never panicked. We had chances there late, where we could have panicked and found a way to lose it, and our kids buckled down and made enough plays down the stretch and got a win for us.”
A key victory too, because the Bengal Tigers (7-6) improved to 4-0 in Mid-Indiana Conference play, with dates with Cass, Northwestern and Hamilton Heights ahead. Western (9-6) fell to 3-2 in the league. Peru is the only unbeaten remaining.
“We’ve still got three really tough games,” Metcalfe said of the MIC race. “We’re grateful for the position we’re in, but certainly not satisfied, certainly not content, and we realize we’ve got a lot of work to do to put ourselves in position to win the conference.”
Peru got ahead early, opening a 9-4 lead on a fast-break deuce from Brodie Brooks. The Bengals took charge in the second quarter, getting 11 points from reserve Connor MacDonald. He hit three triples in his first four shots, and closed the scoring in the second quarter with a fast-break hoop provided by Brooks’ hustle. Brooks tipped a long defensive rebound past a Western player, then raced him to the frontcourt for the ball and tipped a pass to MacDonald for a wide-open layup. That made the score 30-20 Peru at halftime.
“We had him on the scouting report. He’s a good shooter and he knocks down three 3s, and gets a 2 on that hustle play,” Western coach Bart Miller said of MacDonald. “That’s 11 points in a four-point ballgame from a sub. That’s huge. He came ready to play, as well as all their players.”
The Bengal Tigers led 44-35 after three quarters, then withstood Western’s rallies in the fourth quarter. Western trimmed the Bengal lead to 53-49 on a pair of free throws by Ronnie Smith with 45 seconds left. The Bengals came up empty on a trip to the line after that and Western had a chance to cut the lead further, but Evan Warden’s 3-ball was off target. Peru missed another freebie, but Bengal guard Eddie Childers came up with his second offensive rebound of a missed free throw that quarter, got fouled, and hit both free throws with 19 seconds left to give Peru breathing room.
Metcalfe stressed how big 50-50 balls were for his squad, and that was one of the first talking points for Western’s Miller as well.
“Rebounding again, and the 50-50 balls, just loose balls,” Miller said of the game’s deciding factors. “Peru, I’ve got to look at the film, but it seemed like they got all of them. I’m sure we got a couple of them, but they got the majority of those.
“When you don’t make those plays, you’re not going to win very many ballgames. Peru, hats off to them. They made those plays and executed and came out here and just beat us.”
Peru outrebounded Western 38-26 with the starting frontcourt of Logan Primerano (eight), Joe Comerford (eight) and Seth Adelsperger (seven) combining for 23 rebounds. Primerano paced the Bengals on the scoreboard with 15 points, Brooks added a dozen, Macdonald 11 and Comerford nine.
Smith led Western with 18 points from the center spot. Austin Weaver added 11 and Evan Warden 10. Smith and Austin Townsend each snagged nine rebounds.
Bengals lead wire to wire against Panthers, go to 4-0 in MIC
Peru’s boys basketball players gave a winning effort Friday night.
GASKINS: Hibbert’s block was thing of beauty
Day after day, ESPN commentators lavished endless praise, which quickly grew tiresome. The dunks were strong, but Jordan and James were much taller and heavier than Knight and Terry and the dunkers also caught perfect alley-oop passes with the defenders in poor positions to defend. Still, ESPN commentators loved these plays.
I kept wondering if a great defensive play would receive the same kind of love.
Coons, Walker, Glassburn reach Victory Lane
When the dust settled Sunday evening at the Kokomo Speedway, a pair of drivers who have visited Victory Lane in the past at the local oval found themselves there once again while a talented up-and-comer hit the hallowed ground for the first time.
Jerry Coons Jr. had his way in the sprint car feature and Craig Walker seemed to get faster as the laps wound down to win the Street Stock main event, however Kokomo High School sophomore Kory Glassburn had to scratch and fight before scoring the first feature win of his career in the Thunder Car A-main.
Field is set for Indianapolis 500
After being bumped from the starting field while sitting on the qualifying line on pole day, Josef Newgarden turned the fastest time on bump day, assuring himself a spot in the Indianapolis 500.
The field of 33 cars will have one final opportunity to practice on Friday before next Sunday’s 97th running of the 500.
One year ago the Sarah Fisher Racing Team withdrew Newgarden’s entry on the first day of qualifying and had to qualify on bump day. This year the team decided not to make another qualifying run and got bumped.
Athlete of the week
Cole led the small-school Comets to the Kokomo Sectional title, their first title since 1998.
Kats regain tennis throne
At 10:51 a.m. Saturday morning, the bulk of Kokomo’s girls tennis team sprinted from the viewing hill to the east entrance of the tennis courts to mob No. 1 singles player Morgan Mohr as she came off the court following her 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Eastern’s Courtney Clark.
The No. 3 singles match was still raging, but the team match was already won. The Wildkats had reconquered the throne from two-time defending champion Eastern and were once again champions of the Kokomo Sectional.
Eastern boys track claims first sectional title since 1998
The boys track and field coach at Eastern High School from 1987 until last season, Paul Nicholson’s parting message to his team was simple: “Don’t deny the gift.”
That motto left such a lasting impression on the Comets’ returning athletes that they had it screen printed on their 2013 season T-shirts.
With Nicholson in attendance to celebrate with them, new coach Austin Roark and the Comets outlasted host Kokomo to win their first sectional title since 1998 Thursday night, topping the Wildkats by 3.5 points, 124.5-121.
Eastern, Kokomo favored in boys track sectional
Some of the names and faces have changed, but the plot remains much the same.
The Kokomo boys track and field sectional, much like last year, will likely be a two-horse race between the host and three-time defending champion Wildkats and Eastern, a team looking to break through and win its first sectional title since 1998.
Cole to jump at Miami University
Eastern athlete Grant Cole has only been a long jumper for two seasons, but being turned on to the event late in his career has landed him a scholarship to Miami University.
Comets roar to sectional title
As the old adage goes, it’s harder stay on top than it is to reach the top.
Eastern’s girls track and field team entered the 2012 postseason hoping to put in a strong enough effort to claim the program’s first sectional title.
Having done so, the Comets entered Tuesday’s postseason opener — the Madison-Grant Sectional — with a much larger bull’s-eye on their backs than in previous years.
Eastern proved up to the challenge, scoring a landslide victory to repeat as sectional champions with 125 points.
Dexter leaving Eastern
Eastern girls basketball coach Jeremy Dexter has stepped down from the Comet program after accepting the AD job at Churubusco last week. Churubusco is in Whitley County about 15 minutes west of Fort Wayne.
Dexter led the Comets to a Class 2A state runner-up finish this past season.
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