Perrysburg is close to accomplishing the kind of regular season that has eluded Dave Boyce in 20-plus years of coaching.
The Yellow Jackets are one victory shy of completing a perfect regular season They are 19-0 overall and 13-0 against Northern Lakes League teams heading into tonight's matchup with Southview.
Southview (15-3, 12-1) suffered its only league loss against Perrysburg. A victory for the Cougars would give them a share of the league championship and prevent Perrysburg from claiming it outright.
"Obviously it makes the stakes even higher for this game," Boyce said. "Southview is an incredibly good team. They have to be one of the favorites [in Division I] to win the Toledo district."
Boyce has led the Yellow Jackets to at least a share of the league championships in five of the past seven seasons. However, none of those teams went through the entire regular season without losing a single game.
Prior to this year, Boyce's best regular season as a coach occurred during the 1995-96 school year when he was in charge at Galloway Westland and that team won its first 19 games before losing in the regular season finale.
Besides skill and will, a little bit of the ball bouncing in your favor can play a role in a close contest. The Yellow Jackets have been able to sustain their winning ways, even surviving a couple of close scares in recent weeks. They held off Springfield (75-70), Clay (56-55), Rossford (50-46), and Anthony Wayne (45-43) in recent games to keep their unbeaten record intact.
"The kids deserve credit for pulling games out late in games this season," Boyce said. "We've found ways to win games."
Perrysburg went to Southview earlier this season and posted a 71-57 victory.
"We're in a position to get the best out of [the game]," Southview coach Marc Jump said. "If they win it, they win [the NLL] outright. If we win, we get to share it."
The Cougars have played the last few weeks without junior guard Shaun Joplin, who was removed from the team for not meeting "academic standards" for eligibility. Joplin, a two-year starter, averaged just under 10 points before he was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
But guard Tim Hausfeld averages a team-leading 19.4 points and has plenty of offensive support. Derrick Creque averages 10.4, followed by Josh Craig (10.2) and Andy Borcherdt (9.8).
"Not having Shaun has been a loss for us, but the rest of the kids have stepped into those spots," Jump said. "We're a team. We're a program that goes beyond one kid.
"As coaches, we've got to coach the team we've got."
The Yellow Jackets plan to approach this meeting not much differently from the first encounter.
"We try to prepare for everything based upon what we've seen them do," Boyce said.
The Yellow Jackets are led by senior Neal Linthicum, who averages a team-best 14.9 points. David Hieber averages 13.6, followed by Charlie Hughes (12.6) and Thomas Salmon (11.5).
"I'm sure Perrysburg will come out and try to do what they've been doing," Jump said. "Hopefully, [the first meeting] was an eye-opener for our kids.
"I don't think we realized how athletic Perrysburg was. I don't think we realized how aggressive Perrysburg was. I don't think we realized how good Perrysburg was.
"If our kids aren't ready, then they're not the competitors we think they are."
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