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By LARRY GOFFINET
CAMPBELLSBURG—Perry Central held West Washington to one field goal in the second half to beat the Senators 46-30 in PLAC boys basketball Saturday afternoon.
The Commodores finished 6-0 in the PLAC to win the conference outright for the first time since 1996-97 (they tied for the title in 1997-98 and last year).
Perry Central Coach Matt Carter, who was a senior player for the Commodores the last time they won the title outright, said, “This was a big game for us to win the conference championship. We’ve had an outstanding regular season (with an 18-3 overall record).
“But after we get back home today, the slate’s wiped clean and it’s a new season.”
The Commodores played strong man-to-man defense, including some full-court pressure, throughout Saturday’s game and held the Senators to 22.7 percent field-goal shooting—2 for 3 from three-point range but only 3 for 19 on two-pointers.
The Senators trailed only 24-18 at halftime but went 1 for 7 from the field in the third quarter and 0 for 1 officially in the fourth quarter, when they committed three turnovers and shot 11 free throws.
Strong defense had to fuel the Commodores, as they hit only 37.8 percent from the field themselves, including 3 of 13 from three-point range.
Tired legs may have been responsible for their poor outside shooting, as they were playing their second road game in 20 hours. In between they made another road trip to Huntingburg to practice for the sectional on the floor where it will be held.
“It’s been a long day,” said Carter.
The Commodores also did not have as much depth as usual, as starting guard Abe Schwartz sat out this game after injuring an ankle at Heritage Hills Friday night.
The extent of the injury, or his availability for the sectional, wasn’t known Saturday. “He’s going to see Dr. (Daniel) Eby in Jasper Monday, so we’ll know more then,” said Carter. “We’re just hoping for the best.”
Schwartz leads the Commodores in steals, but they still made eight steals Saturday. Andrew Huber made three and scored layups directly off two of them.
Twelve of Perry Central’s 17 field goals came on layups, including two rebound baskets.
Reserve Dacota Schaad was the only Commodore to shoot well from the perimeter. He went 4 for 5 from the field, making two three-pointers and an 18-footer.
Schaad’s last three-pointer capped a 7-0 run for the Commodores to put them ahead 42-25 with four minutes left.
Center Colten Hedinger made consecutive inside baskets on an assist from Austin LeClere and on an offensive rebound before that.
LeClere and Tanner Cassidy led the Commodores with 11 points and six rebounds apiece.
Schaad added 10 points and reserve Nick Edwards led the team in assists with three.
“Nick Edwards came in and gave us a spark,” said Carter.
Chad Thompson, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, led the Senators, 5-15 overall and 0-6 in the PLAC, with 10 points and 11 rebounds. But he hit only 2 of 10 two-point shots.
Cassidy guarded him most of the time. “I thought Tanner’s size, length and athleticism might give him some problems,” said Carter.