AMHERST — Instead of playing dynamic defense, Amherst decided to offer up holiday hospitality.
The Comets were outplayed on both ends of the court as Perkins pulled away for a 41-28 win in the opening round of the Comets Holiday Tournament.
Amherst was limited to 23 percent shooting (10-of-44) and, according to Comets coach John Rositano, the struggle to put the ball into the basket led to struggles on the defensive end.
“What it comes down to is we’re playing backwards,” Rositano said. “What I mean by that is, shooting and shot making is a byproduct of competing, defending, rebounding and staying in the game. We’re having a hard time scoring and we’re allowing it to stop us from competing and playing hard on the other end.
“I realize sometimes if the shots aren’t falling it saps your energy, but sometimes you have to win a 30-28 game. You have to find a way to win these games. I am not going to sugarcoat it, right now we are not playing at a high level with any kind of competitive spirit.”
The Comets (5-2) had two stretches, one in the second quarter and another in a fourth, when they went more than 5:30 without a field goal. Senior Brianna Shagovac led Amherst with 10 points, all of which came in the first half. Shagovac had all but two of her team’s first-half points.
Perkins (6-2) took a 10-7 lead with 52 seconds to play in the first quarter on a Kayla Yost 3-pointer and never looked back, outscoring Amherst 8-3 in the second quarter to take a 21-12 halftime lead.
That allowed the Pirates to use a slow-paced motion offense to set the pace in the second half.
Yost led the Pirates with 12 points while Shannon Ebert added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Amherst pulled to within 30-25 on a Sydney Falling 3-pointer at the 7:22 mark of the fourth quarter. Perkins answered with a 9-0 run to push its lead to double digits.
“I am very happy and proud of my team,” Perkins coach Ray Neill said. “We played well against a good team that we had to play well to beat. We took care of the ball well in the second half and we tried to get the ball into the right people to take advantage of defensive mismatches. We scrimmage Amherst every year so we knew we had to stop Shagovac and Falling from being able to penetrate, and our defense did a good job of that.”
Brooke Wallace, the Comets’ 6-foot-2 sophomore post, was hampered by foul trouble and the Pirates’ zone defense and was held to a season-low two points.
“The zone is kind of our go-to defense,” Ebert said. “We focused on their perimeter shooters while taking the middle away at the same time. Like our coach said, ‘We got our swagger back tonight.’ It’s always good to come in as the underdog and bring one of the big powerhouses down.”
The Pirates will face Elyria in the championship game tonight. The Pioneers knocked off defending tournament champion Avon 58-44 in the opening game.
Senior guard Darcy Daniel, who scored eight points, said that knocking off the home team makes advancing to the championship game even sweeter.
“It feels great to know that (Amherst) chose to play us and we came and beat them in their own tournament,” Daniel said.
Perkins 41, Amherst 28
PERKINS (41): Darcy Daniel 4-0-8, Shannon Ebert 4-3-11, Kayla Yost 4-3-12, Abbey Seeholzer 1-1-3, Emily Wagner 2-3-7. Totals 15-10-41.
AMHERST (28): Morgan Dziak 1-0-3, Brianna Shagovac 4-1-10, Sydney Falling 2-4-9, Megan Salisbury 2-0-4, Brook Wallace 1-0-2. Totals 10-5-28.
Perkins 13 8 9 11 — 41
Amherst 9 3 10 6 — 28
Three-Point Field Goals: Yost, Dziak, Shagovac, Falling. Field Goals: Perkins 15-of-38 (39 percent), Amherst 10-of-44 (23 percent). Free Throws: Perkins 10-of-13 (77 percent), Amherst 5-of-7 (71 percent). Rebounds: Perkins 33, Amherst 21. Turnovers: Perkins 19, Amherst 12.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.