NEWTON — While it is true that the Perry girls basketball team 61-46 defeat of Newton Monday counts as just one win, the significance of the victory meant so much more.
The triumph was career victory 500 for Jayette Head Coach Mike Long, all of them coming at Perry, where he has been since his first season, in 1979-80.
Long, now 500-238 (.678), saw his team win their season opener by pulling away in the second quarter after starting the game with hot shooting in the first frame.
Claire Marburger and Maggie Lowe each hit a 3-point shot in the first eight minutes, as did Julie Diw and Emma Olejniczak, as Perry, ranked eighth in Class 4A, opened an 18-12 lead.
Newton (0-3) had the benefit of having already played two games and did not show the kind of first-outing roughness that Perry displayed at times. The Cardinals closed to within 22-19 with six minutes left in the first half but missed 10 consecutive free throws over a stretch that saw the Jayettes score 14 consecutive points to take a 36-21 lead into the locker room.
Lowe had five points in the stretch, with Diw scoring seven and Olejniczak two as Perry seized control.
Newton could come no closer than 11 points the rest of the way. Perry led, 45-31, after three frames and was able to keep the hosts at bay in the final frame despite hitting only 10-of-24 free throws in the win.
The Jayettes were also badly outrebounded, an area of concern for the team. Newton finished with a 31-21 edge under the rim and pulled down an alarmingly high 16 offensive rebounds.
Marburger tallied 20 points and nine rebounds while blocking four shots, making three steals and providing three assists. Lowe hit four 3-pointers en route to scoring 16 points while dishing out seven assists and coming away with four steals.
Diw had 14 points and six caroms while Olejniczak had seven points and Grace Marburger and Victoria Hegstrom two points apiece. Grace Marburger provided three steals and three assists to help secure the win.
Perry hosts Carlisle in a Raccoon River Conference boys/girls set beginning at 6 p.m. next Friday. Long will be honored for his career milestone during a ceremony between the two games.