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    Perry relies on defense to top Mentor

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    PERRY—Prior to Wednesday’s non-conference game against Mentor, Perry recognized two of the most prolific scorers in program history.

    The Pirates then went out and used a stifling defense to beat the visiting Cardinals, 41-28.

    “Offensively today, we were a little out of sorts,” said Perry coach Roy Infalvi, Jr. “We missed some shots we normally make and we weren’t very good from the foul line, but defensively, we played really strong. To hold a team under 30 points is big and that’s our goal game in and game out and we did that tonight. When our offense isn’t going good, we try to use our defense to generate offense. At the very least, if we shut teams down, then we’ll win a lot of games.”

    Perry didn’t struggle to score over the past two seasons with Madyson Hacking and Elle Infalvi in the lineup. The two four-year starters had their names added to Perry’s 1,000-point club and were recognized prior to the start of Wednesday’s game.

    Their graduation was expected to set the Pirates back this season.

    Coach Infalvi believed differently.

    “We have a real good team and we were really excited coming into this year because I knew we’d have some girls step up,” he said. “The one thing that I feel strongly about too is we have really good depth and I think some of our depth showed today and some girls stepped up in some key times.”

    That depth showed up early and often.

    Margeaux Jean scored five of her seven points in the first quarter as the Pirates jumped out to an 11-4 lead.

    Izzy McKoon took over in the second and scored six of her career-high 16 as the Pirates pushed their lead to 22-14 at the break.

    Marcella Rodriguez and JaC’ana Anderson, Perry’s most consistent scorers this season, finished with six and four points, respectively.

    McKoon scored eight points in the third quarter and went 2-for-2 from the line in the fourth.

    “She had two good halves,” Infalvi said. “She had a complete game.”

    McKoon saw her role change earlier this season and she has stepped up her game to help the Pirates in a number of ways.

    “She’s really a starter for us that we bring off the bench,” Infalvi said. “She does a lot of really good things. We had an injury to one of our post players a couple of weeks ago, so we decided to bring Izzy off the bench just to get a better rotation. She’s a team player.”

    Grace McKoon, Gigi Vicini, Maddie Stevenson, and Rylee Hodge all contributed with two points in the win.

    Perry improved to 9-0 on the year.

    “I expected us to be 9-0, to be honest with you,” Infalvi said. “I told people before, my daughter is one of those 1,000-point scorers and we had the all-time leading scorer and they’re great and we had a great team last year, but I think we have the makings that we can be even better this year. We’re not there yet, but we have some players and we have some depth. They can all play defense. I like our team. We have some work to do, but I like where we’re at.”

    Bella Carcioppolo and Morgan Holmes both scored seven points to lead the Cardinals on offense. Sofia Kraska added five points, Jordan Alesci pitched in with four, and Breanna Berwald and Kylie Maxwell finished with three and two points, respectively.

    Perry’s defense limited what the Cardinals could accomplish on the offensive end.

    “They played very good defense,” said Mentor assistant coach Bob Bell. “They play good pressure defense and it kind of caused us not to be able to execute some of the things that we normally execute.”

    The good news for the Cardinals was their ability to hold the Pirates under 50 points for just the second time this season.

    “I thought our kids played a very intense defense as well,” Bell said. “We were kind of hoping if we could keep them under 50, we might be able to have a chance.”

    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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