Perryville Pirate boys’ basketball coach Justin Dreyer thought the day would be coming soon. Perryville senior Josh Robinson has led the team in scoring during the team’s first four games, so it was a matter of time in the coach’s mind before Robinson would have an off night.
That night was Friday when Robinson only mustered seven points. But his teammates picked him up and led the Pirates to their fourth win in five tries to the tune of an 81-50 victory over Fredericktown.
“I was looking for a night like this at some point in time this year,” Dreyer said. “Josh can’t carry us every night, but everyone else was there to pick up the slack. Josh and Aaron (Mueller) who only had six lead by example with how hard they play and everyone else feeds off their energy.”
That energy could be seen again in the second half as for the second straight game, the Pirates blew the contest wide open with a dominant third quarter. Perryville (4-1) outscored the Blackcats 29-12 in the third to extend their 40-27 lead at halftime. Much like in all their other games it came at the expense of their pressing style of defense. The Pirates started the third quarter on a quick 4-0 run on baskets by Garrett Dix and Jeff Reisenbichler. Then Mueller’s steal and pass ahead to Dix for the easy bucket gave the Pirates a 48-29 advantage just a minute into the second half. In all, the Pirates forced 19 turnovers.
“We changed our press up in the second half because the more we press, the more the other team will get used to it,” Dreyer said. “We wanted to try and keep them on their toes and switch things up.”
Whatever the switch was it seemed to work on the Blackcats. The continued pressure frustrated by Perryville kept their opponent on their heels all night and allowed them to grow their lead into the fourth quarter. Reisenbichler had a steal and basketball, along with an offense rebound and putback to have his own miniature 4-0 run to start the final frame, extending the lead to 68-41. For the third time this season, the Pirates hit the 80 point mark and it’s something fans might have to get used to this season because Perryville is averaging nearly 75 points per contest.
“We were averaging 74 points coming into tonight and we surpassed that again tonight,” Dreyer said. “We work hard on our transition and getting up and down the floor. With our depth and playing nine or 10 guys every night it’s something I try to use to our advantage.”
Dix led the team in the scoring column with 22 points, including four three pointers. Reisenbichler contributed 19 points to the Pirates effort and Logan Thaxton added 10.
Those scoring efforts could be seen right from the opening tip as Reisenbichler started the game off with a three and Perryville never looked back. The Pirates started the game on a 14-4 run in the first three minutes, again using their defense to convert steals into easy offense.
“We got a lot of steals and converted them into easy buckets in transition,” Dreyer said. “It’s something we want to do every game and we thought it would be our best gameplan against Fredericktown and the guys have played extremely hard to open the year and to press that’s how you have to play and the guys did that tonight.”
The Pirates hot start will be put to the test in their next game on Friday when they take on the undefeated Saxony Crusaders.
“We have some tough games coming up but I like where we are right now,” Dreyer said. “We are light years ahead of where we were this summer and I’m really proud of them.”