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By LARRY GOFFINET
LEOPOLD—Tanner Cassidy scored 23 points and Perry Central played well in nearly every facet of the game to beat Forest Park 66-58 in boys basketball Saturday.
It was the Commodores’ first victory over the Rangers in 17 meetings (regular-season and sectional), since a 69-57 win Jan. 9, 1999.
The Commodores hit 51.1 percent (23 of 45) from the field and and committed only seven turnovers—nine fewer than the Rangers.
The taller Rangers outrebounded Perry Central only 23-21.
Perry Central hit only 2 of 11 from three-point range even though “for the most part we got good looks,” said Perry Central Coach Matt Carter. “But when you shoot over 50 percent (overall) you have to be pleased with that.
“Other than (6-foot-7 Forest Park center Lyle) Schlachter, we thought if we got the ball inside we could score over the top of them. We made some good down screens and seals and good entry passes to the post.”
Derek Thomas scored the Commodores’ last seven points of the first half to put them ahead 31-29 at halftime. He got them on a 6-foot post-up shot, a 12-footer out front, and a baseline drive and free throw.
Joel Weyer’s hot outside shooting kept Forest Park in the game. He finished with 26 points, including six three-pointer baskets.
“He just shot the ball extremely well tonight,” said Carter. “I didn’t think our defense was terrible on him. He made some tough shots with a hand in his face.”
But Perry Central took the lead for good on a spinning drive by Thomas with 3:03 left in the third quarter.
Cassidy then added a layup on a baseline drive to increase the lead to 42-39.
Austin LeClere and Colten Hedinger added inside baskets on nice assists from Dacota Schaad to put the Commodores up 46-40 at the end of that quarter.
They led by at least six the rest of the way, hitting 7 of 8 free throws in the final 1:09 to preserve the lead.
Thomas finished with 20 points to back Cassidy.
Cassidy also led Perry Central in rebounds with eight, assists with five, and steals with four.
“Tanner does everything well,” said Carter. “He has a real high basketball IQ.”
Thomas also made four steals and Hedinger grabbed six rebounds.
Perry Central improved to 8-1 while Forest Park fell to 3-7.
The Commodores will host Southridge Friday at 7 p.m.
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Perry Central won the JV game 54-50 as Alton Cumming scored 14 points and Michael Schwartz added 12 points, four assists and four steals.
Dillon Hubert contributed nine points for the 8-0 Commodores and Aaron Pierrard had five rebounds and four assists.