Jayettes fall to South Hamilton after strongest start of year
After opening the new year with a pair of losses to ADM and Winterset, Perry girls basketball (1-8, 0-7) took a break Monday from conference action to host South Hamilton (6-6), falling 49-37 after jumping out to a commanding lead.
Perry's competition has beaten the Jayettes to the punch in virtually every game this season. But as a team that was in the zone right of the gate Monday, Perry was able to dig its heels in and contend from the jump as the Jayettes led 22-17 after the first half. That gave Perry its first lead at the break since defeating West Central Valley in early December.
"They just came ready to play," Perry head coach Skylar Wolf said. "We were in it. We had high energy and we were good to go."
Not only was the team rolling early, the Jayettes were also missing two starters Quinn Whiton and Lanie Fish (both will miss additional time).
While those absences didn't get in the way of Perry's early momentum that largely hinged on Jayna Kenney and Lydia Olejniczak's connection, that power could only be sustained for so long before a break the wrong way. With South Hamilton's aggressive press, Perry was forced into a corner in the third quarter and fell behind 33-30.
"We were gassed," Wolf said. "When we have our two leading scorers and another starter that doesn't ever come out, we're gonna get tired."
Taking advantage of extra gaps in the defense and crossing the court, not only did the Hawks have a couple of burst plays to pop Perry's bubble but slowly chipped away at the foul line going 15-of-30 on free throws compared to 6-of-13 from the Jayettes.
Thanks to the initial progress in the first half, Perry wasn't entirely out even with South Hamilton's third quarter surge. After Olejniczak put up four free throws in the fourth quarter's opening minutes, Perry was only down 36-34. Kenney then pulled up for a trey, sending the crowd to their feet as Perry reclaimed a 37-36 lead.
"I was very proud of our kids for battling back in that," Wolf said of Perry's first comeback attempt of the season. "It's just tough when your opponent has such a momentum shift in the third quarter that they can afford a couple of down minutes."
South Hamilton quickly responded with its own three-pointer and iced Perry the rest of the way for the 45-37 final score.
Perry was led by Kenney with 13 points followed by Olejniczak (12) and Kathryn West (6) who made a number of crucial shots in the first half.
The Jayettes travel to Bondurant-Farrar (6-3, 5-3) which won all three meetings last year by an average of 32 points.