MILLER CITY — Don’t forget about Perry come tournament time.
The Commodores slapped down a solid reminder of their successful season Tuesday night with a serious win over Putnam County League-leader Miller City.
Perry’s defense and rebounding keyed a 66-48 boys basketball victory at Miller City’s Leopold Gymnasium.
Perry (16-3) has won 12 in a row. The previous 11 wins had come by an average victory margin of 46 points.
But the Commodores knew Miller City (12-6, 5-1 PCL) would be a lot tougher task to handle than the previous 11 opponents.
“This is a big win for us,” Perry guard Orion Monford said. “This was a tournament-like game.”
Added Perry’s Jakoby Lane-Harvey, “This one was big. This meant a lot to us. You saw our energy.”
Also, Perry’s veterans knew they had lost to Miller City last year and now stand 2-16 all-time against the Wildcats.
Perry’s last win over Miller City came three years ago.
“I thought we defended well and we changed the defenses effectively. I thought we won the 50-50 balls and we played hard the entire game,” Perry coach Matt Tabler said. “And we rebounded. … They are a very good basketball team.”
Lane-Harvey led the Commodores with 20 points and four rebounds. Monford had 19 points and five rebounds.
Kobe Glover had eight points and four rebounds for Perry. Lamonte Nichols had six points and nine rebounds, anchoring the boards when Glover was in foul trouble.
“We told him (Nichols) he was a big key boxing out and getting rebounds,” Tabler said. “And, defensively, that was one of Lamonte’s best games of the year.”
Noah Otto came off the bench and had 17 points with five 3-pointers for Miller City. Mark Kuhlman had 10 points and five rebounds. Jacob Schimmoeller had eight points.
Perry led 32-29 with 5:40 to go in the third when the Commodores ripped off an 11-0 run. That gave Perry a 43-29 lead with 7:43 to go.
Keying that run was Monford scoring the first six points of the run on a 15-footer, a 7-footer and a follow shot.
Then, when Monford hit a 3-pointer, Perry’s lead grew to 46-30 with 7:17 to go.
Miller City wasn’t able to mount another charge.
“I think my defense turned my offense into something special tonight to help my teammates win this game,” Monford said.
Perry led 17-6 early in the second quarter, but Otto sank three long-range 3-pointers in the second quarter to bring Miller City within 23-21 with 2:20 left in the first half.
Perry closed the first half on a 5-0 run, helped by two points from Harvey and a 3-pointer from Monford to take a 30-23 lead into halftime.
Harvey had 11 points at the half.
Perry used its full-court press most of the night, but also played man and zone in the halfcourt.
The Commodores forced 16 Miller City turnovers.
After Otto’s three 3-pointers in the second, Monford locked down on him the rest of the way.
“I tried to make it a tough game for him,” Monford said of guarding the 6-foot-4 Otto. “I tried to put my body on him and do what I could boxing him out.”
Perry won the boards 31-26.
Perry shot 51 percent from the field and was 5 of 12 on 3-pointers. Miller City shot 40 percent from the field and was 6 of 20 on threes.
“They are extremely athletic,” Miller City coach Bryan Kuhlman said. “They pressured us up and down the court for 32 minutes. They’re unique in that aspect. … They were quick and got after the 50-50 balls and when we did flood the paint, they hit the outside shots.”
Perry hopes the win over the PCL leader can give the Commodores a boost come tournament time.
“This means if we continue to guard and rebound we can be a very good basketball team,” Tabler said. “But then, we know we have a lot of work to do.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.