This early in the season it’s still hard for a coach to know what he is going to get from his players. But Perkins coach Scott McVeigh has to be pleased with what he’s gotten from his Pirates on their opening weekend of play.
After posting a 24-point win at home Friday night against Sandusky Bay Conference foe Edison, Perkins came right back on its own court Saturday night to post a convincing 65-52 non-conference win over Bellevue.
A big third quarter broke open a close game at the half, and except for one brief moment, the Pirates were able to keep a double-digit lead throughout the fourth period until the final horn sounded.
“The third quarter was the big key for us,” McVeigh said. “What we talked about after the game was we played the second half a lot more aggressive than the first half. We were a little sluggish. I think we had some good looks in the first half that we didn’t make, but I think Bellevue had a part in that.”
Nursing a 24-22 lead at the half, the Pirates used a 24-12 margin in the decisive third quarter to take control behind nine points from senior Kyle Lewis. After a putback bucket from Ross Gerwin off a Thomas Pressler miss on a fast break pulled the Redmen within 32-29 at the 4:53 mark of the third, Perkins ended the quarter on a 16-5 run for a 48-34 cushion heading into the final quarter.
“In the second half we played more aggressive,” McVeigh added. “We attacked strong, we finished, and we knocked down some shots. Kyle Lewis having a nine-point third quarter was huge for us. We got some breathing room, and in the fourth quarter they had to extend. We did a good job of spreading them out. In that third quarter I also thought we got a lot of offense from our defense.”
Bellevue (0-3) drew first blood on a Gerwin 3 from the corner, giving the Redmen a lead they wouldn’t relinquish until Aleck Speer hit his own 3 from the left corner to put Perkins up 18-17 three minutes into the second quarter. A Gerwin jumper gave Bellevue the lead right back, but it was short-lived until Lewis hit two free throws to put the Pirates up for good.
The closest Bellevue could get down the stretch was 50-41 after a Josh McNeely basket with 5:48 to play, but Speer connected on all three of his 3-point attempts after that to put any Bellevue comeback attempt to rest.
“We had some costly turnovers,” said Redmen coach Brad Scheiber. “(Perkins) is a good team. There are a lot of great athletes out there, we know that, and we had some things not go our way. Shots (were) not falling, but we made some shots, too. But the kids are playing hard, and that’s all I can ask.
“Obviously you always want to come out with the ‘W’. The kids played hard. I’m happy with the way the kids are playing, and we’ll re-group and work on what we need to. We haven’t been together for a very long time, and we’re figuring out our rotation. Once we do that we’ll get our confidence.”
Senior Nic Williams paced the Pirate attack with 18 points, while Lewis had 17 and Speer added 13. Williams also pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds, leading Perkins to a 44-33 advantage on the boards. After a terrible shooting first quarter (4-of-18), the Pirates turned it around to finish 26-of-60 (43.3 percent).
The Redmen, who struggled to a 7-of-23 first half, finished 18-for-49 (36.7 percent). They were led by Pressler’s 18 points and Gerwin’s 15. Gerwin also had seven boards.
“Nic had a quiet 18,” McVeigh said, echoing his comments after Williams’ 23 points in the Pirates opening 62-38 win over Edison Friday. “Kyle Lewis putting up 17 is huge. Both Kyle and Chase (Green) post-wise have done a nice job in our first two games. I think they’ve really been a presence for us inside, and when you look at Speer in the fourth quarter it really became a back-breaker. He was ready to shoot and does what he does best.”