Thursday, December 7, 2023

Pirates don’t skip a beat in win over Madison

PERRY—After graduating two 1,000-point scorers, Perry’s girls’ basketball team opened the 2021-22 season on Friday with a dominating 65-27 win over visiting Madison.

It didn’t take long for the Pirates to answer any question of where their scoring will come from this season as Marcela Rodriguez, JaC’ana Anderson, and Sophia Makad each scored in double-digits.

“I thought we had a real nice balance today,” said Perry coach Roy Infalvi, Jr. “We knew a couple go-to’s. Marcela was going to be a go-to for us and JC and they were today. We had some other girls step up and hit some big-time shots. One of our big things is inside-out shooting. Get the ball inside and they collapse and then kick it out for a shot and we could step into it. We hit several 3s on that type of look. I was really happy with our flow on offense. We passed the ball really well and we had a decent amount of assists tonight.”

Gigi Vicini sparked the Pirates with six first-quarter points and Maddie Stevenson and Rodriguez hit timely 3-pointers as Perry built an early 16-8 lead after eight minutes.

The Pirates increased that lead to 33-17 at the break and never looked back.

Vicini finished the game with eight points while Grace McKoon contributed with six, ad Izzy McKoon and Rylee Hodge both scored three for the Pirates.

“Our motto, you see it on our shooting shirts, you see it on banners in the locker room, is ‘Next Level,’” Infalvi said. “That’s our mentality, but it’s not just advancing in the tournament. It’s everything we do. We have to have next level practices, we’ve got to step up to the next level to compete, and we have to have that teamwork and communication and everything has to step up. To this point, our girls are working hard and I’m really happy with our progress this preseason. Everyone’s unselfish and get after it. Our goal is to get to the Final Four and now get to Dayton, but there are a lot of obstacles along the way and we know there are a lot of hurdles we have to get over but tonight was a nice way to start off the season.

Madison opened the season with high hopes and the Blue Streaks don’t feel any different despite the setback.

“Sometimes like we’re the little sister and Perry is the big sister and they kind of beat up on us a little bit and I was hoping this year we’d fight back and I thought we did fight a little bit,” said Madison coach Tedd Wagner. “They’re a great team, they have a great coach, and they have a great program. We have to keep working to get there, but I told my kids after the game we are a good team. It’s going to be very easy to hear chatter out there and people saying this and that. We did not look like a good team today but we had a good summer, we had a good preseason, we had good scrimmages, and we have good players. We just got our (butts) kicked today. I mean, that’s a regional team and I think one team hoped to win and one team knew they were going to win. We need to get the mindset where we know we’re going to win.”

Madison’s struggles had a lot to do with Perry’s aggressiveness on defense and its size advantage in the paint.

The Blue Streaks, down two key players, had trouble matching up under the glass and it showed as Perry grabbed nearly every rebound and scored on multiple second-chance opportunities.

“We came out in a zone,” Wagner said. Obviously, we are not tall so we helped to pack it in because Anderson the last couple of years has killed us and we don’t have anyone that strong. With the zone, they made shots and we had to get out of it and our rebounding wasn’t good.”

Riley Montagner and Chloe Bancroft both finished the game with a team-high nine points. Kearsten Woleben added five and Elizabeth Bottar finished with four.

Perry hosts Willoughby South on Tuesday while Madison looks to bounce back at Nordonia.

Perry 65, Madison 27

Madison (0-1): Bancroft 9, Montagner 9, Bottar 4, Woleben 5

Perry (1-0): Rodriguez 16, G. McKoon 6, Hodge 3, Anderson 13, I. McKoon 3, Jean 3, Vicini 8, Makad 10, Stevenson 3

Madison 8 9 7 3 — 27
Perry 16 17 19 13 — 65

Free throws: Madison 11 of 22, Perry 9 of 13; 3-pointers: Madison 4 (Bancroft 3, Montagner), Perry 6 (Rodriguez 4, Stevenson, Jean)

Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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