St. Mary Central Catholic basketball coach Jim Colwell accurately summarized Thursday night’s game between the Panthers and Pirates in eight words: If you don’t make baskets, you don’t win.
That’s a sentiment both coaches from the game could believe.
Despite their continued struggle shooting the ball this season, the Pirates made enough field goals in a 42-32 win against the Panthers in the final game in the Sandusky Bay Conference.
“It was a struggle throughout. I think both teams played hard, but neither team shot the ball extremely well and neither team took care of the ball really well,” Perkins coach Ray Neill said. “Fortunately for us, we made a few more shots than they did and I think the big key was winning the rebounding battle, which somehow got us over the hump.”
The Pirates made 13 of 54 field goals (24.1 percent) in the game and went 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) at the free-throw line.
Trailing by six points to start the fourth quarter, the Panthers (2-20, 1-13 SBC) had trouble from the floor and went just 1-for-9 in the final eight minutes as Perkins (9-12, 8-6) re-established the double-digit lead it lost in the second quarter.
“We continue to struggle shooting the ball from the field. We continue to struggle shooting the ball from the foul line,” Neill said. “Looking for a positive, I thought (Abbey) Seeholzer and (Emily) Wagner in particular got after it on the boards.”
Seeholzer, Wagner and Haylee Darr each scored a team-high nine points for Perkins, which took a 14-2 lead in the first quarter. Down 17-5, SMCC went on a 9-2 scoring run in the second quarter that made it a 19-14 game as the Pirates took a 5-point lead (21-16) into halftime.
“We finally started making some shots and we played a lot better defense. The rebounding was a lot closer in the second half,” Colwell said.
Even though Perkins had a 38-18 rebounding advantage, they often missed their first, second and sometimes third chances. That helped keep SMCC in the game until late before Seeholzer scored seven points in the fourth quarter. Her putback basket with 6:56 left restored a 10-point lead at 36-26, and the Pirates played keep-away with the ball to beat SMCC for the second time this season.
Perkins won the first meeting, 57-28, back on Dec. 30.
The Panthers made just 11 field goals in the game, while Aly Youskievicz was the game’s lone player in double figures with 10 points. Tre’Tean McCarty and Dani Parish added five points.
“We were still in the ballgame, but we’d come down and couldn’t buy a basket, and we had some good looks,” Colwell said. “(My players) never give up, and we’re looking forward to our sectional.”
SMCC’s opponent in the Division IV sectional is Maumee Valley Country Day (XX-XX) in a game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Genoa High School.
who close out the regular season on Saturday against Bellevue (XX-X). The Pirates and Lady Red could square off again in the Division II sectional tournament if Perkins beats Edison (4-18) in the sectional opener at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Seneca East High School. It will be the third meeting between the teams this season, with the winner advancing to play top-seeded Bellevue on Feb. 22.
The Panthers leave the SBC with two conference championships -- the first in 1975 and the second almost a decade later in 1984.
“I’ve been coaching in the SBC for 30-some years it seems,” said Colwell, who is in third season on the SMCC staff. “It’s a great league. But the big thing is we’ll be facing people in the Sandusky Rivers League that are our size (in enrollment). But Fostoria St. Wendelin, we went against them and they’ve got a girl who is 6-foot-3, New Riegel has a 15-4 record and Old Fort I think has a winning record, so it’s not going to be any easier stepping into it.”
Before the start of the third quarter, Colwell gave Perkins assistant coach Mike Dresser an envelope of money with his program’s portion of the 50-50 raffle drawing. Dresser, whose daughter Abby is a sophomore on the junior varsity team, gave Colwell a hug and a salute to the fans. His family’s home on Shady Lane in Perkins Twp. caught fire Tuesday night and caused damage to the second floor and attic, with additional water and smoke damage throughout the house.