PERRY—Entering Wednesday’s non-conference game against visiting Mayfield, Perry had averaged over 70 points per game during its 3-0 start.
Naturally, the Pirates turned to their defense to beat the Wildcats, 39-13.
“Offensively, it’s not going to happen every night,” Perry coach Roy Infalvi said. “When there are nights where we’re off or things aren’t going well, we’ve got to be able to win games playing defense. We referenced a few games last year that down the stretch we weren’t doing well offensively in the games but we were shut down defensively and we won some big games that way. That’s what it is and that’s a good representation of that tonight. We didn’t look good offensively but defensively, it got us a win.”
Mayfield gets some of the credit for holding Perry to a season-low 39 points and just two 3-pointers in the game.
The Wildcats held Perry standouts Madyson Hacking and Elle Infalvi to just 13 and five points, respectively.
“We knew coming into the game that they scored 68 or higher in their first three games,” said Mayfield coach Ryan Looman. “Madyson and Elle are two really good basketball players in general, but they’re just putting up really good offensive numbers right now. We told the girls before the game that we had to have the mindset of slowing them down and if we could just keep them in check somewhat, we’d give ourselves a shot.”
Mayfield limited Perry to just 20 points in the first half and 19 in the second but couldn’t match the same success on the offensive end of the floor.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively,” Looman said. “I was just telling them, I’ll take that effort defensively of limiting them and I’m sure they missed some shots and missed some looks they could have hit, but just making it tough on them was important to us. Offensively, it was an abomination of basketball but that’s another story.”
Hacking scored six of Perry’s 10 first-quarter points. She was limited to just two in the second quarter and closed out her night with seven in the third, which included hitting one of Perry’s two 3-pointers.
JaC’Ana Anderson added seven points and Margaux Jean contributed with six. Jean also was a thorn in Mayfield’s side all night long.
“She did some really nice things defensively and offensively,” Infalvi said of Jean. “She got us some steals and some transition and made some nice passes. I was really happy with her play.”
Jean and her teammates forced 22 Mayfield turnovers.
“As long as we’re communicating and on the same page and our rotations are going well, we give some teams some problems,” Infalvi said. “I thought today we did a good job. We did a good job communicating and we kept pressure on the ball. When they had a step on us, we were able to rotate and take that away pretty well. We kind of hang our hat on our man-press.”
Perry committed just 10 turnovers.
While the Pirates didn’t match their typical offensive output, Infalvi was pleased with what he saw on the defensive end, especially after allowing 49 points per game in the Pirates’ first three contests.
“We’ve played some good teams to start the season, CVCA and Brunswick, who could really shoot the ball and move the ball. I was really disappointed in how many points we did give up,” he said. “One of the things we talked about, we want to hold teams in the 30s and obviously we did better than that tonight. I think we can really go back and look at some of the things we did defensively. We made some adjustments from the film that we watched the last time we played so I was happy to see us making those changes.”
Mayfield was limited to just six first-half points and one in the third. The Wildcats closed out the game with six points in the final eight minutes.
Uriah Jennings led the Wildcats with seven points and Dae’Shawna Harwell added four, all in the fourth quarter.
“We talked about that at halftime,” Looman said of his team’s offensive struggles. “We’re young and I think at some of our guard spots we’re still learning how to play against good basketball teams. We’ve just got to be in sync and that’s a lot of reps, a lot of practice, a lot of game time, a lot of film time, seeing what we can continue to be good at and continue to improve upon.”
Perry 39, Mayfield 13
Mayfield (1-4): Jennings 7, Harwell 4, Duncan 2
Perry (4-0): Hacking 13, Jean 6, Anderson 7, Infalvi 5, McKoon 2, Mikad 2, Moon 2, Rodriguez 2.
Mayfield 4 2 1 6 – 13
Perry 10 10 15 4 – 39
Free throws: Mayfield 1/6 Perry 5/11; 3-pointers: Mayfield 0 Perry 2 (Hackin, Infalvi); Rebounds – Mayfield 30 (Peterson, Harwell 8 a piece) Assists: Mayfield 1 (Peterson) Steals: Mayfield 3