On Senior Night, a distracted Perrysburg team shrugged off a slow start to celebrate in style on Monday.
The Yellow Jackets fell behind visiting Waite 8-0 before they quickly found their stride and ran away with a 69-22 victory.
Perrysburg (19-1) put the game away with a 42-5 run that started in the first quarter and continued until early in the third quarter.
All five seniors on the varsity scored for the Yellow Jackets, who are ranked 10th in the state in Division I.
“It's really nice because we've worked so hard for this,” said senior Maddy Williams, who finished with eight points. “It's a good way to go out winning by that much on our home court. It's wasn't just one senior that had 30 points. It's good that everyone had some scoring. I think everyone had fun.”
Three underclassmen had big games. Junior center Sarah Baer finished with a game-high 17 points. Sophomore forward Lindy DeLong scored 13 points, and sophomore forward Allex Brown chipped in with 12 points.
Senior Samantha Gremler scored seven points, while her classmates Mollie Whitacre, Katie Dunphy, and Maddy Perry each had two points.
Waite (7-10) played without senior Kre'Ana Henry, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Henry led the City League in scoring (17.9 points per game) and rebounding (9.4) before suffering the injury in mid-January.
The Indians also played without sophomore guard Ramiah Henry, who was out of town.
The Yellow Jackets forced five turnovers to spark a 12-0 run that gave them a 12-8 lead, and they never trailed again. After falling behind early, Perrysburg used a 34-5 spark to take a 34-13 lead at the half.
“I knew we'd be fine once we got into a rhythm,” Perrysburg coach Todd Sims said. “Once we broke the ice, I knew we'd be fine. The intensity picked up, period. We weren't guarding anybody early. Maddy Williams started it with a couple nice finishes. Once we scored and started pressing a little bit, we picked the tempo up and it was good.”
Perrysburg forced 26 turnovers against the undermanned Indians, who had five varsity players available. The Jackets used an attack defense to wear the Indians out.
Waite junior Yatiah Caldwell scored a team-high 12 points.
“Perrysburg's a good team,” Waite coach Manny May said. “They pressed us, and we got a little tired and winded. We had no subs. We had the JV pulled up. We had a good spurt and then we just faltered at the end without any air. I was happy with the start. But I want to finish the game strong. They kept subbing in and out, and we couldn't match up.”
Caldwell, who hit two 3-pointers for Waite, drilled a 3 with 7:22 left in the second quarter. But it was the Indians' only field goal of the quarter. They didn't score again until Caldwell drained another 3 midway through the third quarter. Gremler drilled a 3-pointer just before the end of the third quarter to give Perrysburg a 51-17 lead. DeLong hit another 3-pointer early in the fourth for a 55-17 lead.
Sims attributed his team's slow start partially to the special occasion as all five seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony.
“We got off to a slow start, which almost always happens on Senior Night. But it ended up working out great,” Sims said.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.