By Kenny Hetzler
Peru avenged a narrow loss to Maconaquah in the championship game of last month’s Miami County Tournament by defeating the Braves 59-43 in Mid-Indiana Conference action at Tig-Arena Friday.
Mac had claimed the previous meeting 55-51. The 43 points is the second lowest that the Tigers (5-6, 2-0 MIC) have given up this season. The lowest was the 38 Peru allowed to Eastern on Dec. 14.
“I thought we did a nice job defensively,” Peru coach Jim Metcalfe said. “[Maconaquah] was a little confused on how to attack the zone a little bit at times. It helped that [Mac post Micah] Pier got into foul trouble again. It seems like he couldn’t get into rhythm all night long, so that helped us tremendously, and [Tyler] Bradley into foul trouble, just keeping those guys off the floor a lot kept them out of rhythm offensively. Those guys do the majority of the scoring for them. We did a good job. I thought at times we didn’t rebound the ball as good as we should, but for the most part defensively that was the best effort all season.”
Pier, who scored eight points in the first meeting, only scored four Friday, and Bradley, who scored 17 in the championship game, scored only six points.
Maconaquah (7-4, 2-1 MIC) also shot 28 percent (14 of 50) from the field, while Peru shot 45.7 percent (21 of 46) from the field.
The Braves led once during the game, and that was with 5:56 left in the first quarter when Trevor Hagan hit a basket for a 4-2 lead.
Peru’s biggest lead of the night was the final 59-43. It came on a two-handed slam dunk by 6-foot-10 sophomore Seth Adelsperger with :05.4 left in the game.
“It was a good win,” Metcalfe added. “Our kids have been looking forward to this since Dec. 29th. We did what we had to do Monday through Thurday to put us into this position [Friday]. It was one of the things we have been stressing. We just have to keep getting better and pushing each other in practice. You could see that our guys were getting sick of practice, and ready to get out here and play. It was our most complete game that we had played all season. Everybody contributed, and everybody made plays. I was really proud of the effort we had [Friday].”
Peru was led by Joe Comerford with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. Brodie Brooks added 13 points. Logan Primerano contributed with 12 points, and Adelsperger added 10 points.
Maconaquah, which came into the game with a three-game winning streak, didn’t play up to par, according to the Braves’ coach Andy Steele.
“Peru came out aggressive, and I think we backed away,” Steele said. “[I told the team] I think we played six solid minutes of basketball, and that was from the six minutes left in the game to the buzzer that’s all I think we played well. Rather, that’s me not doing the right defense, or them not showing up and playing I don’t know yet. I am going to have to watch film and break this down. It is a sick feeling in my stomach, you know we are the better team, and we came out and played like that.”
Walton led Maconaquah with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.