TOLEDO — Billed as a showdown between two of Northwest Ohio’s best teams, Perrysburg bested Toledo Whitmer, 65-52, at Memorial Fieldhouse Tuesday.
“This is a big win. We knew coming into the game that it was us and them of at the top right now and this is our biggest game for a while,” Perrysburg senior Andrew Hunt said.
“We came in with the mentality that we are going to win, and so we did.”
Perrysburg won its fifth straight game to improve to 5-1 while Whitmer suffers its first loss in three games. Whitmer was coming off an 83-65 win over Lima Senior in a Three Rivers Athletic Conference game last Friday.
Perrysburg got four players into double figures, led by senior Matt Watkins and junior Austin Shultz with 17 points apiece.
Andrew Hunt and his twin brother Avery scored 10 points each, but the 6-foot-4 Andrew Hunt had 12 rebounds and two steals as the Yellow Jackets controlled the boards by a 30-18 count.
“I think our defensive effort was good, and our rebounding effort was outstanding,” Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said.
The Yellow Jackets shot 60% (24-for-40) from the floor and made 13-of-16 free throws, but had 15 turnovers, including 11 in the second half.
“We just wanted to move the ball, find the open man, and stay under control, and keep advancing the ball and I thought we did a really good job of that,” Boyce said.
The 5-10 Shultz hit two three-point goals, but also scored in the lane with 12-foot step back jumpers and was willing to take on Whitmer’s biggest players in the paint.
“He’s got a great feel for the game, he’s got a great touch and he knows how to get open and where to be on the court,” Boyce said.
The Jackets began pulling away late in the second half when Watkins got one of his four steals and raced down the court for a dunk, giving Perrysburg a 32-19 lead with three minutes left in the first half.
Perrysburg’s strategy was to handle Whitmer’s defensive pressure, and in the first half, the Yellow Jackets had just four turnovers, scoring 23 second quarter points and taking a 41-27 lead at intermission.
“We knew they were going to come in and we knew they were going to pressure us a lot,” Andrew Hunt said.
“We handled it well in the first half, but the second half it kind of got to us a little bit. But we ended coming together and coming out with the win.”
The second half saw less scoring, but mostly because the game became physical with both teams reaching the bonus and multiple players in foul trouble as the Panthers amped up their defensive pressure even more.
“We were trying to score, and between the foul trouble and the fouls, I think we lost our poise for a minute, but I think we got it back,” Boyce said.
Whitmer, coached by former Bowling Green State University standout Anthony Stacey, got 27 points, four rebounds and five steals from sophomore guard Antione West Jr.
However, the Panthers shot just 35% (18-for-51) from the field. They made all 10 free throw attempts and had 12 turnovers.
Stacey thought his team could have done a better job shooting the basketball.
“We just had a rough time scoring tonight. We didn’t take very good threes and we could never make baskets out of our pressure,” Stacey said.
“I thought we didn’t handle their zone well,” Stacey continued. “I think we didn’t move the ball well. We rushed it and took some bad shots. Once we got down, we tried to get it all back in one shot. We just have to learn from this.”
For Perrysburg, senior Matt McEwen scored four points and had four rebounds, junior Matt Hubbard had three points and four rebounds, and junior Gavin Fenneken added four points.
“They are a heck of a team and Dave does a really good job,” Stacey said. “We must be much better when teams slow it down, but you must give them credit, they played a heck of a game.
“I thought our guys battled, but if you want to beat a team you have to make some shots, and early on we didn’t make shots and we got behind and dug ourselves a little hole too deep for us to come back.”
For Whitmer, senior Pharrell House had nine points and four rebounds, senior Kobe Helmke scored six points, junior TaMarrian Davis scored five points, and junior Kayshone Nash Jr. added three points and senior Devin Morgan scored two points.