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Commodores clinch tie for PLAC crown

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By LARRY GOFFINET
Sports Editor

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LEOPOLD—Strong rebounding, defensive pressure, and three-point plays of all kinds helped Perry Central beat Paoli 81-60 in PLAC boys basketball Friday.
The Commodores im-proved to 5-0 in the PLAC  with just one conference game left, clinching at least a tie for the title. Paoli fell to 4-1 in the conference and 12-6 overall.
The Commodores trailed 18-15 after the first quarter but scored 31 points in the second quarter to build a 46-34 lead.
Tanner Cassidy hit consecutive three-point baskets—one from the top of the key and one from the wing—to give them a 22-20 lead with 6:00 left in that quarter.
Abe Schwartz also hit a three-pointer to increase their lead to 46-30 with 1:07 left in the half.
Schwartz and Dacota Schaad each scored a traditional three-point play on a drive and free throw in the second quarter—two of five such plays the Commodores made in the game.
They had another three-point possession in the middle of the second quarter. Derek Thomas made the first of two free throws but missed the second. But Austin LeClere grabbed the rebound and put it in for a 30-24 lead.
LeClere scored three rebound baskets in a 1:14 span in the second period.
“He was doing a great job flying to the offensive glass and they weren’t putting a body on him,” said Perry Central Coach Matt Carter. “He played a great game on both ends of the court.”
Perry Central outrebounded Paoli 28-25 overall, with Cassidy grabbing 11 and LeClere five.
“We knew before the game started that (Paoli) was very physical,” said Carter. “We thought if we could hold our own on the boards and not get beat on dribble penetration, we would be OK. For the most part we did that.
“And when they cut our lead to 10 (in the second half) we made some really nice bounce passes for layups.”
Besides rebounds, Cass-idy led the Commodores with 24 points, four steals and three assists.
He hit 8 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 4 from three-point range, and 5 of 6 free throws.
“He played a great game,” said Carter. “We sometimes take for granted everything he does. . . . He came out really aggressive from the beginning.”
Schwartz added 17 points and also had four steals and three assists. LeClere scored 13 points coming off the bench.
Junior forward Tanner Wroblewski led Paoli with 18 points.
Perry Central, 16-2 overall, will conclude PLAC play at West Washington Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
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Perry Central won the JV game 56-40 as Michael Schwartz had 17 points, five steals and five rebounds.
Dillon Hubert added 12 points and six rebounds and Alton Cummings had seven points and five steals for the 16-1 Commodores.