Perry rallied back from a double-digit deficit to beat Chagrin Valley Conference rival West Geauga in a Division II district championship game on Saturday at Lakeside High School, 62-46.
The Pirates, who have now won back-to-back district titles, also avenged a regular-season loss to the Wolverines.
“The first time we played them we felt that we let some opportunities pass by,” Perry coach Roy Infalvi said. “The girls really prepared hard and worked to get ready for this game, and really the whole tournament. We got down early and got into a little bit of foul trouble but some of the girls we brought in off the bench stepped up and played big.”
West Geauga, who ended the year with a 21-4 record, led after the first quarter, 18-12. The Wolverines extended that lead to 12 points before the Pirates rallied back to lead at halftime, 32-31.
“We had a really nice second quarter and actually took the lead going into halftime,” Infalvi said. “Early on, they got a few offensive rebounds and some putbacks off of some misses. They also got to a couple of 50-50 balls that I felt we should have gotten too. We kind of eliminated that from that point on and I thought we did a good job of rebounding and our offensive picked up and ran some nice sets. We executed when it counted.”
Madyson Hacking, who led all scorers with 18 points, scored six and Margaux Jean came off the bench and scored all five of her points in that second-quarter rally.
“We had to stay positive and trust one another,” Hacking said of the early deficit. “We knew we needed to get stops on defensive and execute on offense. We stayed calm and focused.”
Jean and Marcela Rodriguez both made key contributions off the bench.
“Margaux came off the bench for us and did some really nice things defensively and made a couple of key scores offensively, especially in the second quarter. She had five in the second quarter that were huge that kind of got us into a little bit of a run to close out the half. She stepped up big,” Infalvi said. “Marcela Rodriguez also came off the bench and played a really nice first half and did some good things in the second half. We put her on Athena Hocevar and she did some nice things.”
Hocevar finished with just 13 points.
Infalvi changed up his defense in the second half and that was enough to keep West Geauga’s offense from finding its groove.
The Pirates limited the Wolverines to just 15 second-half points.
“I think that kind of took them out of rhythm a little bit offensively because even when we made a run in the second quarter they were still scoring a little bit,” Infalvi said. “I thought we took them a little bit out of rhythm when we changed up the defenses. That was big and both Madyson and Ellie (Infalvi) both stepped up on the offensive end making some big shots at key times.”
Perry pushed its lead to 47-41 heading into the fourth quarter and then hit 13-of-16 free throws in the fourth quarter to finish off the Wolverines.
Hacking converted 6-of-7 free throw tries in the fourth quarter to send the Pirates back to Barberton for the regional tournament.
“I am so excited to win back-to-back but to also come out and beat them when it matters,” Hacking said. “This was a huge game and we came in ready to fight and execute.”
Elle Infalvi, who was 5-of-6 from the line in the fourth quarter, finished the game with 14 points. Rodriguez added seven and Gigi Vicini and Jacy Anderson both contributed to the win with six points. Lauren Sutyak and Izzy McKoon added four and two, respectively.
Alexa Hocevar led West Geauga with 15 points.
Perry (20-5) returns to the regional tournament for the second consecutive season and third time in four years.
The Pirates will play Beloit West Branch on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.
“Having the experience from last year will definitely help us this year,” Hacking said. “It helps us know what to expect and be confident in our game with pressure on us.”