BUNKER HILL — It was the same result in the same gym, just 20 days later.
Back on Dec. 28, Peru snuck out of Maconaquah with a 58-56 win in the Miami County Holiday Classic championship. Friday night, the Bengal Tigers pulled it off again, a bit more comfortably this time around, knocking off the Braves 64-58 in Mid-Indiana Conference action.
Peru (5-5, 2-0 MIC) was playing its third game since its last trip to Mac, following up a blowout loss at Kokomo (73-39) and a close setback to Oak Hill (63-57) with Friday’s victory. In the same time span, the Braves had not seen any action on the hardwood, but Mac coach Andy Steele wasn’t using that as an excuse.
“Sure, if we came out sluggish in the first quarter, I would say that had a lot to do with it, but I thought we played a very good first quarter,” Steele said. “And for some reason, it looked like almost the exact opposite in the second quarter.”
Mac (3-4, 0-2) looked like it might have Peru against the ropes early as the Tigers couldn’t handle the Braves’ pressure, coughing up four turnovers in the first :40 of the game on the way to nine first-quarter miscues.
The Braves converted the first few turnovers into points but couldn’t keep it up as, despite the miscues, the Tigers trailed by just three points, 13-10, at the start of the second quarter.
Over the next eight minutes, Peru outscored Mac 15-6 to go up 25-19 at the half and led the rest of the way.
“We played too fast early,” Peru coach Jim Metcalfe said. “Once we calmed down a little bit and started looking for open areas … it was one of those in-game adjustments you need to make and the guys responded well.”
Mac, on the other hand, went cold just as the Tigers were heating up, finishing the first half 8 of 28 from the field (29 percent), including a 2-of-10 in the second frame.