Friday's first-ever boys basketball tournament game between crosstown rivals Sandusky and Perkins was a pretty basic breakdown.
The Pirates opened the Division II sectional championship game with an 18-of-29 shooting performance from the floor, while the Blue Streaks were 6-of-31 in the game played at Willard High School.
And so any hopes of another down to the wire finish between the two teams were extinguished early, as the Pirates blasted the Blue Streaks by a 76-32 score for a fourth straight sectional title.
Perkins (20-3) advances to face Lexington (16-8) at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Mansfield Senior High School.
In the Feb. 1 meeting between the Blue Streaks (6-18) and Pirates at Perkins, Sandusky used a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter before eventually falling, 68-67.
But Friday night, it was 22-7 in favor of the Pirates before the Blue Streaks could pick themselves back up off the ground.
“You look at the first couple minutes of the game, it was back and forth and was a great atmosphere,” Perkins coach Scott McVeigh said. “I think everything started tonight with Dale's (Irby) defense. He did a great job on the (Jayrese) Williams kid, and I think everyone kind of fed off of that. Dale has the capability to take someone out of a game like that, and he did that tonight.”
In the regular season meeting, the freshman Williams scored 24 points, and sophomore Davion Fisher added 15 for the Blue Streaks. On Friday night, the duo were held to two field goals and six total points.
Leading 27-12 midway through the second quarter, the Pirates put the punctuation mark on the game with a 17-2 run to close the half.
Nic Williams, Irby and Chase Green scored six straight points, and a Bryan Williams basket briefly stopped the bleeding for Sandusky, but the Pirates closed the half with a fury.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Matt Schweinfurth and Aleck Speer made it 42-14, then Nic Williams closed it out with a pair of free throws after a technical foul on the Sandusky bench with 4.4 seconds left in the half.
When the smoke cleared, it was 44-14 at the break.
“It helped that we shot it well early, it allowed us to gain confidence as the half went on, especially defensively,” McVeigh said. “When we give up seven points each in both quarters, that's where we set the tone. We got some easy buckets, although we were a little iffy with our rebounding. Everything after that just snowballed, and the rim got tighter for them I'm sure, although I think we did have a little bit to do with that.”
For Sandusky and coach Dustin Sharp, it was a nightmare from start to finish.
“Obviously we didn't shoot the ball well,” Sharp said. “I thought there were times we had some good looks, but I thought their physicality made us alter some shots, but .. they kicked our butts tonight. They were the better team tonight and played extremely well.
“All year we haven't had a real big post presence inside, so we've been living and dying by the outside shot,” he added. “When we're hitting, we can win some games and compete, but tonight there was a lid on the bucket.”
Williams scored 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting for Perkins and grabbed eight rebounds. Kyle Lewis added 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Irby scored 11. Sandusky got eight points and six rebounds from George Brown.
“It's a work in progress, and regardless of our record, we got better as the season went on,” Sharp said of his first season as coach at SHS. “That's all you want to see, a steady improvement. They got a little taste tonight of what the championship environment feels like, and I know the work ethic of these guys, they will continue to work hard and get better.”
Meanwhile, the Pirates will face a Lexington team that is coming off a mild upset of Associated Press poll champion Ontario (21-2) Friday night, 56-49. Ontario had beaten Lexington in overtime on Dec. 28 by the exact same score.
“You look at a team that goes out and beats Mansfield Senior and Ontario in the same year, that's a pretty good team,” McVeigh said of Lexington. “We got to see them in the first half against Clear Fork (Tuesday). But it's Lexington. They are going to be very disciplined, they've got some size to them … it doesn't get any easier from here. We know we've got to battle, we've got to play.”