PERRY—Perry pounced on visiting Canton South early in its Division II district semifinal on Wednesday and then held off the Wildcats in the final 16 minutes of a 47-27 victory that clinched a trip to a fifth straight district title game.
The Pirates won district titles in 2017, 2019 and 2020, and finished as the district runner-up in 2018.
“It was big,” said Perry coach Roy Infalvi, Jr., of the fast start. “Our past couple of games, we haven’t started really well. We’ve come out a little bit flat offensively. I thought we played defensive pretty well, but offensively, we haven’t, so it was good to come out and have a good first quarter. We made some shots and passes and limited our turnovers. That was huge, especially in the tournament.”
Elle Infalvi, who scored 16 points, found her rhythm early as she drained two 3-pointers to give the Pirates an early 6-0 lead. She later added a jump shot to finish the first quarter with eight points.
Madyson Hacking, who led all scorers with 17 points, scored six points in the first quarter as the Pirates jumped out to a 16-4 lead.
Perry would go on to outscore the Wildcats in the second quarter, 16-11, and led at halftime, 32-15.
Marcela Rodriguez scored all eight of her points in the second quarter to help fuel that first-half run.
“Marcela has really been playing well for us lately, especially on the offensive end,” Coach Infalvi said. “She’s hitting shots more often so we feel confident going to her.”
Gigi Vicini added three points in the first half and Margeaux Jean helped set up the Pirates on the offensive end despite facing pressure from the Canton South guards.
“Margeaux has really done a great job all year for us and continues to both offensively and defensively,” Coach Infalvi said. “They had some guards that really pressured the ball and she did a good job of handling that. Defensively, she did a good job in the full court. She may not have gotten all the steals but she got some deflections and the harassment that caused them.”
Perry opened the third quarter with an early put-back from JaC’Ana Anderson but that was the only buck the Pirates would score in the quarter as Canton South cut Perry’s lead to 34-22 entering the fourth quarter.
“I was a little disappointed how we came out after halftime,” Coach Infalvi said. “I thought we made some bad decisions on some passes and maybe we tried to do too much. We did miss a couple of shots too that fall for us normally, but we’ve got to be better. At this point, districts and on, we have to be able to start games and start playing games well. We didn’t do that in the third quarter today, but we’ll clean that up.”
Despite scoring just three points in the game, Anderson keyed a defensive effort that kept Canton South out of the paint.
“JC sometimes scores in double figures and sometimes she doesn’t but she always rebounds and plays well on the defensive end,” Coach Infalvi said. “She did that today and she played hard. She always shuts down the other team’s big.”
Elle Infalvi used a second-quarter 3-pointer to solidify her spot as the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers scored in a single season. The long-range shot was her 74th of the season.
With the win, the Pirates improved to 20-4 on the year. Perry hosts Salem in a district championship game on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.