In a game of runs, Perry Hall’s 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter clinched the Gators’ 67-57 victory over host Catonsville (1-14).
Perry Hall (6-8) was led by senior Tim Adedire, who scored a game-high 25 points. T.J Moore and Marte Nichols added 12 for the Gators,
Dashawn Dixon (17 points), Brian Ruppel (12) and Noah Walz (11) led the Comets.
The game was tied 30-30 at halftime when Perry Hall opened up an 8-point lead in the third quarter.
Baskets by Raheem Ransome and Adedire start the rally and Koron Brown added three points and T. J. Moore’s turnaround jumper made it 39-31 with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
Catonsville responded with a 14-2 surge to close the quarter.
Noah Waltz had three field goals, Cameron Burch scored four points and Brian Dickey and Dashawn Dixon scored two as the Comets took a 45-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
Perry Hall increased its defensive intensity with the press and forced seven Catonsville turnovers in the fourth quarter, including five in the first 2:25 and they went on a 12-0 scoring binge to take a 53-45 lead.
The Comets never got any closer than six, 63-57, after Christian McMorris banked in a three-pointer with 47 seconds left.
“We are a young team and we need to learn to value the possession,” Catonsville coach Dennis Keihm said. “Seven turnovers in the fourth quarter, that was the difference in the ballgame, that’s what gave those guys their run."
Adedire had 10 points in the fourth quarter and Moore had eight.
“I think at the end I was just spreading the floor, five wide with these guys and I think it really helped, it got us layups down the stretch,” Perry Hall coach Joe Carlineo said.
Adedire also made all four of his free throws in the final stanza.
“He was good, he’s a player, he was beating us out far and we started getting up in his face and we slowed him down, but there is only so much you can do,” sophomore Ruppel said.
Ruppel did help slow down Adidere in the second quarter when he drew a charge on him for his third foul.
“That was very big,” Keihm said.
“I was trying to put it all out there,” Ruppel said.
That play came in the midst of a 19-5 Catonsville run to close the second quarter with the game tied, 30-30, after the Comets had trailed 25-11.
Ruppel spearheaded the second-quarter charge with eight points, an assist and pair of rebounds.
“They played a man today and we work a lot on man offenses and it seemed like our sets were working really well in the game,” Ruppel said. “We were getting a lot of open shots and we were hitting open shots, in the second quarter especially.”
Dixon added eight points in the second quarter, including a putback to tie the game with 16 seconds left until halftime.
McMorris came off the bench to hit a three-pointer and Ty’ien Blanding turned a steal into a fast-break bucket in the quarter.
“That’s what I told the kids at halftime, was ‘Okay, we got back into it, they’ve got some foul trouble, but be ready they are coming back at full strength and you saw it in the third quarter and that’s when they got their run and that’s when we need to settle in and we got back into it and we got the lead and then they got their run and that’s just it,” Keihm said.
The game could have been a preview for a rematch in the playoffs.
“If the standings stay the way they are, we will get them in the first round of states, so we will get another shot,” Keihm said. “Hats off to Perry Hall, they fought hard and they came back.”
Although the Comets have only one win, Ruppel thinks they may be on the verge of breaking through.
“We are working really hard in practice, trying to turn the season around,” he said.
Perry Hall coach Carlineo knows the key to his squad’s postseason centers around seniors Adedire and Ransome.
“It’s the senior leadership, I play those guys most of the game when they are not in foul trouble,” he said.
Perry Hall 67
Tim Adedire 25, T.J Moore 12, Marte Nicholz 12, Koron Brown 9, Raheem Ransome 6, Caleb Parker 3.
Dashawn Dixon 17, Brian Ruppel 12, Noah Waltz 11, Christian McMorris 9, Cameron Burch 4, Brian Dickey 2, Ty’ien Blanding 2.