GATES MILLS—Perry jumped out to a big lead and then held on for dear life in a 54-50 win over host Hawken in a Chagrin Valley Conference showdown on Saturday.
The Pirates won the CVC Lake Division title while Hawken was playing to win the Chagrin Division outright.
“I thought we played a really good first and third quarter, especially defensively,” said Perry coach Roy Infalvi, Jr. “One of the things Hawken has done throughout the year is they’ve done a good job of not letting up and going on some runs, and they want on a nice run I the second quarter and then again in the fourth quarter.”
Marcela Rodriguez buried a couple of 3-pointers and Grace McKoon scored five of her seven points in the first quarter as the Pirates jumped out to an 18-5 lead.
Hawken’s Makayla White scored six of her 13 in the second quarter and Kate Bollinger added four of her game-high 16 in the period as the Hawks pulled to within 31-21 at the break.
“They scored 16 in the second quarter,” Infalvi said of the Hawks. “They did some good things in transition and hit some shots. We kind of regrouped and did well in the third quarter.”
Kaitlyn Newsome ad Anderson both scored five points in the third as Perry went on a 16-8 run and pushed its lead to 47-29 with eight minutes left in the game.
Hawken didn’t let up.
Bollinger hit a pair of 3-pointers and Julianna Pollard and Cami Courtad each drained one shot from long-range to spark the Hawks on a 21-7 run.
“They went on a run and hit a bunch of 3s and scored on a bunch of possessions in a row,” Infalvi said. “Give credit to them, they did a good job of making us one-and-done on the offensive end and pushing the ball and getting off some good shots. They made them when they counted. It was a good game. They’re a good team and we knew it was going to be a battle coming and we talked all week about how it was going to be a championship atmosphere and it was.”
Anderson led Perry with 14 points while Newsome and Rylee Hodge also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Rodriguez finished with eight, McKoon added seven, and Gigi Vicini and Margeaux Jean both scored two points in the win.
“Kaitlyn is a player that works her butt off every day in practice and in some games she gets more minutes than in others,” Infalvi said. “Today, she came in and her hard work paid off. She did a great job, especially on the defensive end and that turned into some points. Rylee, same thing. She really creates a lot on defense and she’s pretty aggressive and gets after it. She had a couple of 3s in that second quarter that gave us a little spark there.”
With the win, Perry closed out the regular season with a 19-3 record overall and a 12-1 mark in conference play.
The Pirates won three big games in the final week of the regular season.
They beat Stow on Monday, Brush on Monday, and then closed out the week with the win over Hawken.
“To come into this last week and beat the three teams that we beat was pretty impressive,” Infalvi said. “I know our girls were a little upset at the end because it turned into a close game but I told them they have nothing to hang their heads about. Hawken is a really good team and they’re well-coached and they get after it. We’re going to look at the things we did really well and we’re going to look at the things we need to work on and use that to get better, but to have the last week of the regular season go the way it did, I’ll take that anytime.”
Bollinger led the Hawks with 16 points. White and Cami Courtad also scored in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Julianna Pollard and Maya Dori both scored three points for the Hawks and Rosie Murray and Carmen Courtad both finished with two.
“I’m really proud of the way we responded and the way we played in the second half,” said Hawken coach David Murray. “We struggled a little bit, especially in that second quarter with the ball pressure. It took us a while to make adjustments.”
Murray was pleased to see the Hawks rally in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve had a few games where in the second half we made really good pushes,” he said. “The key is not getting in the hole in the first place, but Perry is such a fundamentally and technically sound team. They got a little tired and made some uncharacteristic turnovers, which helped us.”
With the loss, Hawken dropped to 11-2 in league play and will share the Chagrin Division title with West Geauga.