PERRYSBURG — Perrysburg won decisively Friday, downing visiting Bowling Green, 81-46, in a Northern Lakes League boys basketball game Friday night.
“We followed our game plan pretty well and took what they gave us and pretty much found the open man,” Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said.
The Yellow Jackets’ win moves them that much closer to do or die time during the season’s stretch run.
The Yellow Jackets, 12-4 overall and 7-1 in the NLL, travel to Sylvania Northview (13-3, 6-2) on Tuesday, host Anthony Wayne (9-7, 7-2) next Friday and then travel to Springfield (11-4, 6-2) the following Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Perrysburg junior guard Austin Shultz connected on five three-point shots and led all scorers with 24 points. Senior guard Matt Watkins had 20 points, seven rebounds, and three steals for the Jackets.
Perrysburg shot 58% (29-for-50) from the floor and the team’s 81 points is tied for the Jackets’ second highest scoring output this season.
Despite winning by 35 points, Boyce says there is work to do yet heading into the next set of NLL games.
“We’ve got Northview next, and we’ve got to go to Northview, and they are good,” Boyce said. “I still think we’re playing in spurts a little bit. I think we’ve got to be more consistent with every possession.”
The Bobcats made it interesting for a quarter before the Yellow Jackets went on their offensive rampage.
On a dish from senior guard Brock Hastings to a wide-open BG junior forward Reece Rath, Rath connected on a corner three to put the Bobcats up 12-10 with two minutes left in the first.
One minute later, BG 6-foot-8 senior forward Jabari Conway rebounded his own missed shot and got the putback to tie the game at 14-14.
Shultz hit a 12-foot jumper with two seconds remaining to give Perrysburg a 19-17 lead at the end of eight minutes.
BG coach Mason Roth said from that point on, his players were trying to do too much by themselves instead of moving the ball.
“We played hard the first quarter,” Roth said. “I thought we executed our plan. It’s just that sometimes we get away from it.
“I’ve talked to that group (saying) that we can’t win by ourselves. We started going a lot of one-on-one, not moving the ball, and that bit us in the butt. I mean, they are good. When they hit you with runs, they hit you with runs.”
Perrysburg opened the second quarter on a 15-4 run, then outscored the Bobcats 23-11, taking a 42-27 lead at halftime and BG was never able to recover.
Perrysburg was 13-for-15 (87%) from the free throw line and committed just four turnovers.
BG was 18-for-51 (35%) from the floor, made both free throws shot and was guilty of 14 turnovers. The Bobcats did manage a 27-26 edge off the glass.
BG junior guard Jake Amspoker hit three triples on his way to scoring 13 points, Conway had eight points and four rebounds, Hastings scored eight, and junior guard Ahmir Ruffin scored seven.
Rath and junior guard Grant Sonner scored three apiece and junior guard Brayden Freyman and senior forward Evan Brandt scored two points each. Sonner, at 5-7, was BG’s leading rebounder with six.
For Perrysburg, junior Gavin Fenneken scored 10, senior Avery Hunt had eight points, six rebounds and three steals, and junior Matt Hubbard scored eight points.
Senior Avery Hunt scored six points, junior Zack Pamer scored three and senior Matt McEwen added two points.
“I do think tonight our bench did a good job,” Boyce said. “I thought Matt Hubbard and Matt McEwen came in and added a lot to the effort.
After Springfield lost to AW (9-7, 7-2), 59-56, on Friday, the Yellow Jackets are in sole possession of first place in the NLL.
Watkins does not want to see any more losses like the ones Perrysburg suffered to Rossford (55-53), Springfield (57-56) and Toledo Central Catholic (63-59).
“I think we’re headed in a good direction,” Watkins said. “We’ve had a lot of tough losses this year — about three of them that came down to one possession.
“I think tonight was a big team morale win. It gave us a lot of good morale. We showed a lot of heart today. Coming off some tough losses, we need to get back in the groove, especially in the second round of the NLL,” Watkins continued.
“We knew we had to start with BG tonight, and I thought we came out and played really well. In preparation we just have to keep being locked in, keep playing as a team, and just keep listening to coach about what we need to do.”