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By LARRY GOFFINET
LINCOLN CITY—Perry Central’s full-court press and depth wore South Spencer down in the fourth quarter as the Commodores won 62-50 in the championship game of the PSC Holiday Classic boys basketball tourney Saturday.
The game was close most of the way, with four lead changes and four ties in the first half.
Perry Central built a 48-42 lead by the end of the third quarter by outrebounding the Rebels 8-4 that period and getting three baskets directly off offensive rebounds.
South Spencer committed 11 of its 20 turnovers in the second half, with four coming in the first 1:32 of the fourth quarter.
That allowed Perry Central to extend its lead to 51-42 on an inside basket by Tanner Cassidy and a free throw by Derek Thomas when he was fouled on a layup after teammate Austin LeClere’s steal.
About that flurry of steals Perry Central Coach Matt Carter said, “I thought we were really active (in the press). Once we get a couple, it seems like we get them in bunches and get a 6-8 point run. Sometimes that’s all you need.”
After a South Spencer timeout, Perry Central’s Dacota Schaad hit a three-pointer to increase the Commodores’ lead to 54-42. They led by eight to 12 points the rest of the way.
“Dacota hit some big shots,” said Perry Central Coach Matt Carter. “He’s continuing to get better.”
Perry Central’s balanced squad seems to have different heroes on offense each game. Junior guard Andrew Huber, who had never scored more than eight points in a varsity game, scored 15 in the first half on 7 of 10 field-goal shooting as the Commodores took a 31-29 halftime lead.
“Andrew was the difference to start the game,” said Carter. “He came out with more energy than anyone else and was able to knock down some jump shots and get to the rim.”
Huber did not score in the second half, when he took only two shots. Cassidy led the Commodores with 16 points, including 10 in the second half. Thomas added 11 and Abe Schwartz 10.
Schwartz made five of the Commodores’ 16 steals and Thomas added four.
Cassidy led the Commodores in rebounds with seven. They got outrebounded 13-6 in the first half but only 13-12 in the second half. They seemed fresher in the second half than the Rebels as their depth again paid dividends.
“A lot of teams can play 10 kids, but we don’t really lose a step when we put them in,” said Carter.
He also noted that in the first half the Rebels “were just flying to the offensive boards and we didn’t box out well.”
Both teams shot well from the field, with Perry Central hitting 51.0 percent and South Spencer 52.6 percent.
“They hit some really tough shots,” said Carter. “I thought our defense was pretty good on jump shots.
“The first half I thought we gave up too much dribble penetration.”
Dakota Risse led the Rebels with 16 points and Charleston Roberts grabbed seven rebounds.
Perry Central improved to 7-1 as it won the tourney for the first time since 2008. South Spencer slipped to 6-3.
The Commodores will host Forest Park Saturday at 7 p.m.