Perry Surely Perry-Lecompton coach Ed Putnam had some inspiring words for his basketball team at halftime of the Kaws' game with Tonganoxie on Friday night.
Certainly some win-one-for-the-Gipper motivational speech helped Perry-Lecompton overcome a 10-point second-half deficit to claim a 70-64 victory over its Kaw Valley League foe and longtime rival.
Putnam's words of wisdom, full of pith and vinegar, fire and brimstone, sparked the comeback, right?
So, coach, what DID you say?
"I can't remember," Putnam said.
C'mon, sure you do.
"WELL, I talked about being patient," he said. "I told them, `When you run the offense, don't try to score to quickly.' And I told 'em defense was the reason we were behind."
Though the monologue was forgettable stuff to Putnam, his players practiced his preaching. The Kaws hit 15 of 19 shots after intermission and their defense held the Chieftains to 12-of-26 shooting after the break.
Also crucial was the foul situation. Perry cashed nine of 16 free throws in the second half, while Tongie did not go to the free-throw line after intermission.
"They just turned it up some," said Tonganoxie's Robbie Calovich, who scored a team-high 19 points. "They turned it up in the second half and just beat us."
Tongie seemed in control when, with 6:50 left in the third quarter, Aaron Randel's basket gave the Chieftains a 41-31 lead. But Perry went on a 16-4 lead to pull within two, then tied it at 51 with 1:49 left. Eric Allen then hit a basket with 1:08 remaining in the third to give the Kaws the lead for good.
"IN THE FIRST half, we were pumped up, but we were making dumb fouls," said Allen, a 6-foot-3 junior who scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in the second half. "When we came in the locker room at the half, coach told us to remember the Santa Fe Trail game. We came back and got them. That sparked our comeback."
The Kaws eventually built a 64-56 lead with 3:33 left. Tongie closed to 66-64 with 1:17 showing, but the Chieftains turned over three of their next four possessions.
"The second half was much better than the first," said Perry's Ashley Whitelightning, who scored 14 points. "Nothing was going our way in the first half. Coach gave us a little pep talk at the half, telling us to keep our heads in the game. He told us if we put our minds to it, we could win the game."
The Kaws shot 65.8 percent, but just 57.1 percent from the free-throw line. Tongie hit 48.1 of its field goals and 90 percent of its free throws.
RAMON GONZALEZ, the third P-L player in double figures, scored 10 points. Tongie's Jeff Bunnell scored 18 points and Jason Hicks added 14.
On Tuesday, Perry-Lecompton, 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the KVL, will travel to Lansing, and Tonganoxie, 3-4 and 0-4, will travel to Santa Fe Trail.
P-L 70, Tonganoxie 64
Matt Dean 3-10 0-0 7, Mike LaPlaca 0-2 0-0 0, Jeff Bunnell 6-11 6-6 18, Robbie Calovich 8-14 3-4 19, Jason Hicks 6-10 0-0 14, John Keeler 0-3 0-0 0, Aaron Randel 2-3 0-0 4, Evan Dean 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-54 9-10 64. PERRY-LECOMPTON (70)
Ramon Gonzalez 4-4 2-2 10, Jeff Spreer 2-5 3-7 7, Brian Damme 2-6 4-8 8, Ashley Whitelightning 5-7 4-4 14, Brad Sheley 4-6 1-4 9, Eric Allen 10-13 2-3 22. Totals 27-41 16-28 70. Tonganoxie
Three-point goals Tonganoxie 3-13 (Hicks 2-5, M. Dean 1-5, LaPlaca 0-1, Bunnell 0-1, Calovich 0-1); Perry-Lecompton 0-3 (Gonzalez 0-1, Spreer 0-2). Total fouls Tonganoxie 24, Perry-Lecompton 13. Fouled out Bunnell, Keeler, Tonganoxie. Technical fouls Bunnell, Tonganoxie bench, Damme. Turnovers Tonganoxie 17, Perry-Lecompton 16.