MADISON—Perry’s advantage in its non-conference game at Madison on Monday extended well beyond past success and talent.
The Pirates entered the game with a 9-1 record while the Blue Streaks opened their season after a longer than normal offseason.
Perry was firing on all cylinders early and went on to win, 78-49.
“If we get the ball inside early and get JaC’ana (Anderson) involved scoring, teams are going to collapse and that’s going to give us some nice kick-outs outside to our shooters and we can step into some shots,” said Perry coach Roy Infalvi, Jr. “I think getting the ball inside is big and I thought we did a good job of that early in the game.”
Anderson scored six of her 10 points in the first quarter as the Pirates built an early 19-8 lead.
Madison adjusted to defend the paint and that opened up the perimeter, where Perry is most dangerous.
Elle Infalvi, who scored a game-high 23 points, went scoreless in the first quarter but found her rhythm in the second.
Infalvi drained 7-of-8 3-point tries with her final shot pushing her past the 1,000-point milestone.
“She needed 20 points and whether it was going to happen tonight, we didn’t know,” Coach Infalvi said. “I just told her to play her game and let it happen. If it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. She got on a little roll and her teammates set her up pretty nice.”
Infalvi scored nine points and Madyson Hacking added five of her nine in the second quarter as the Pirates pushed their lead to 43-17 at the break.
Marcela Rodriguez and Anderson both contributed to the win with 10 points and Izzy McKoon added nine for the Pirates.
After shaking off the rust in the first half, Madison played a much cleaner game in the second half.
“I told my team at halftime when the more talented and better team plays harder, you’re in trouble and I don’t mean that as a disrespect to my team,” said Madison coach Tedd Wagner. “Obviously, Perry has been to the regional a couple of years in a row. I’ve seen three or four of their tapes and we got their A-game. They’re a regional team for a reason. They took it to us. They outhustled us, they got rebounds.”
Madison standout Riley Montagner heated up in the second half as she went on to score 12 of her team-high 16 in the final two quarters.
Elizabeth Bottar added 10 points for Madison and Kirsten Woleben finished with eight.
“I challenged my team at halftime to fight back and to try to get after it and I think we did,” Wagner said. “The first half, our press was not good. We were not aggressive and I think, maybe, we were a little intimidated possibly, I don’t know. We learned that we have to be aggressive. We have to pressure, we have to go after it and that’s what I told the team after the game. When we started to get more aggressive, it was still Hacking and Infalvi, but we did cause some turnovers.”
While the outcome was less than desirable, the Blue Streaks learned a lot in their season opener.
“We’ve got to maintain that (aggressiveness),” Wagner said. “I think that was our problem last year. There were certain games I think mentally we expected to win so we came out like tigers. There were certain games when we were playing some really good teams that we maybe thought, ‘I don’t know if we can win this,’ and they were passive. I don’t care if we’re playing the best team in the league or the worst; we have to come out and be the same team, aggressive and hungry and get after it.”