PERRYSBURG — Perrysburg made sure they took care of business, opening a 40-9 halftime lead on their way to a 69-40 win over defending Northern Lakes League champion Sylvania Northview Friday.
“We had a bad taste in our mouth, coming in second and losing to them two times last year when they had a really great team,” Perrysburg senior Matt Watkins said. “So, it was kind of like revenge.
“I thought we came out fired up, had a lot of energy on defense, and I thought we took them out of it since they wanted to run,” Watkins continued.
“I thought they got lost in transition and we just kept going. That is a real good win.”
Perrysburg, the preseason league favorite, improves to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the NLL with both wins coming over teams picked to finish second (Northview) and third (Bowling Green) in the coaches’ voting.
Perrysburg defeated the Wildcats and Bobcats by a combined 60 points, including a 71-40 win over BG last Friday, so its up to the rest of the NLL to see who can challenge the Jackets.
Watkins led Perrysburg with 17 points and three steals and junior Austin Shultz matched Watkins by putting up 17 points, including converting on three 3-point goals.
As a team, Perrysburg shot 54% from the field (27-for-50), made seven three-point goals, and was 8-for-11 from the line. The Yellow Jackets shot 59% (16-for-27) from the floor in the first half.
“We played on our heels in the first half, and they hit every shot,” Northview coach Jeremy McDonald said.
“We played back and let them shoot over us, and they made shots and it kind of snowballed from there. We didn’t handle the adversity very well.”
Northview came into the game with a front line that includes 6-foot-11 sophomore center Logan Horton, 6-8 junior Nik Echelmeyer, 6-7 freshman forward Alan Horton, and 6-7 junior center Alex Murray.
All four got significant playing time, but only Alan Horton started, getting a double-double 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Wildcats held a narrow 24-22 advantage off the boards.
Plus, the foursome played a role on defense, blocking six shots, including two each by Echelmeyer and Logan Horton.
Otherwise, it was the Jackets who showed they were the veteran team, committing just four turnovers while forcing the Wildcats into 15, including 11 in the first half.
“We’ve got a number of guys who have been in games like this before,” Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said.
“It was home, and I think our guys are mature and they followed the gameplan, and we moved the ball really well and found the open man.”
Perrysburg senior Andrew Hunt scored seven points and seniors Matt McEwen and Avery Hunt, and junior Matt Hubbard provided six points apiece. Hubbard had a team-high five rebounds.
Perrysburg junior Gavin Fenneken scored five points and had two steals, junior Zack Pamer scored three points, and senior Carter Petteys added two points.
Northview suffered its first loss, falling to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference. The Wildcats were 14-for-36 (39%) from the field and 9-for-14 from the line.
Senior Alex McCoy and junior Drew Barnesky scored six points each and junior Nick Campbell scored four points for the ‘Cats.
Echelmeyer, junior Jackson Clausius, senior Alex Dupree, and senior Anthony Rammuny added two points apiece for Northview.
McDonald hopes his team will be better prepared when the two meet again on Northview’s Jerry Sigler Court on Jan. 31.
“I was pleased with our second half effort,” McDonald said. “It would have been easy to just fold. I thought our guys fought hard in the second half.
“It’s (Perrysburg) a really good basketball team and we’ve got a month and a half before we see them again, so we’ve got some time to prepare.”