Jayettes fall after close comeback attempt against Greene County

Sean Cordy
Lydia Olejniczak looks to move the ball for the Jayettes during a home game last season on Jan. 21, 2021.

Perry girls basketball (2-11) kept up in a 36-29 home loss Thursday to Greene County (5-7), the third Heart of Iowa Conference team Perry has played in two weeks. Coincidentally, the school board will be voting Feb. 8 to approve the school’s admission into the HOIC for the 2021 fall season.

Early command

The Rams have had a couple of slow starts this season and Perry continued that trend by jumping out to a 9-3 lead after the first quarter. That's the same tone the Jayettes sounded against fellow Heart of Iowa opponents South Hamilton and Saydel. Only the latter game turned into a win, but the hot start is a step in the right direction.

Greene County eventually fed a steady diet of shots down the lane and reversed the scoreboard in the Rams' favor with only a couple-possession lead at halftime.

The Fightin' Jayettes

Down the stretch, Perry had every intention to have the final say with one last momentum swing. With a hand in her face and under three minutes remaining, Jayna Kenney put up a three-pointer to bring the score to 33-28 — very nearly a four-point play — carrying momentum built by the Jayette defense.

At the heart of that defensive effort, Kennedy Tunink had three steals including a fastbreak that created a four-point swing early in the final quarter.

"Kennedy played really, really hard and she does every night," Perry head coach Skylar Wolf said. "She's getting to be one of those players that plays for us all game long. She's getting into that Lydia-level, that Jayna-level where we kind of struggle when she's not in."

Unfortunately, the team's aggressiveness also pushed the game to the side as two occasions saw Perry rebounds fall back in the Rams' possession as swarms of Jayettes scrambled for the ball. Wolf said he felt that was born out of habits built against teams like Bondurant-Farrar and Ballard where rebounds are physical battles whereas Greene County laid off in the paint.

Two of a kind

Perry's Jayna Kenney puts up a shot on Thursday, Jan. 21 during a home contest against Greene County.

Until the fourth quarter when Tunink put up her shot, the only two Jayettes to score more than a free throw were Kenney and Lydia Olejniczak. The two were virtually the entirety of the game's offense as Olejniczak worked up to 15 points while Kenney hit 11 points. 

Wolf said that with Greene County's pressure early on, Perry's offense was left "standing still" and looked for their pillars to carry the load.

"When we start to get down on ourselves, we tend to go to who we can trust to score," Wolf continued. "And usually that ball ends up in Lydia and Jayna's hands. We try to get the offense a little more free-flowing. That just didn't happen."

Next Up

Perry will host Carroll (6-6) on Friday for its fourth game of the week which Wolf noted has the team fatigued. They lost 60-27 on Tuesday against Carlisle.