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Sluggish Peru offense cannot overcome Knox

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

KNOX – The second boys’ basketball game of the season for Peru had a very different feel from the first, outside of when the final horn sounded.

Traveling to new schedule add-on Knox, the Tigers were subdued offensively in the first half, only scoring nine points and despite a solid rally in the third quarter did not have the firepower to catch up to the Redskins in a 45-30 loss.

Peru head coach Eric Thompson said the team played well on the defensive end of the floor but didn’t have the same execution level on the offensive end.

“We’re proud of the guys as they didn’t make the same kind of mistakes defensively that they did against Logansport,” Thompson said. “They’re hungry, willing to learn and have pride in what they’re doing.

“We made adjustments at halftime, drove the ball to the basket more, got to the free throw line more, even if we didn’t hit the shots, and we executed the game plan but didn’t continue to do it. We made some mistakes and Knox punished us for them.”

Knox utilized a patient attack, dragging Peru defenders around the half court while waiting for an opening to appear, opportunities that frequently appeared.

The same could not be said on the other end as the Tigers frequently rushed possessions and missed chances to put points on the board from the line, going 1-for-5 in the period, to go along with baskets from Gavin Gysin and Josh Adejokun.

Eian Coad and Kooper Broeker both had five points in the opening quarter, the same as the visitors, to help the Redskins out to a 14-5 lead after eight minutes.

Thompson said the defense played well but the energy used on that side of the floor made the offense less effective.

“It may have drained us on the offensive end,” Thompson noted. “We came down and took a lot of quick shots instead of holding the ball and taking quality shots.”

Peru was able to limit Knox to 10 points in the second quarter but the long, drawn out possessions took their toll on the short-handed Tigers as they only recorded a second Gysin basket and two Duante Majors free throws, leaving for halftime trailing 24-9.

The Tigers continued to struggle shooting the ball to start the third quarter but better passing and attacks toward the basket eventually brought rewards as Trevon Crowe scored six in the period, four coming from the foul line, Gysin added four and a DJ Fuller three helped the hosts close the gap down to 32-25 in the waning seconds of the period.

Adejokun committed a foul at the buzzer on Broeker, however, allowing the senior to hit two from the foul line to bump the lead back up to nine at 34-25.

Up until the final foul, Thompson said the team had started to get on track offensively and was close to meeting the goal set at halftime.

“Our goal was to cut it down to seven and we did that,” Thompson said. “(The foul) took the wind out of our sails and they got to hit two-out-of-three free throws on a foul that was 40 feet from the basket.”

Any momentum the visitors had at that point was lost and, much like in the first half, Peru could get noting going offensively while Knox salted the game away from the free throw line, knocking down 7-of-8 at the stripe to ensure a win.

Thompson said the players were put through a different type of game than many had been exposed to before and felt the scenario would be beneficial down the road.

“This was a learning experience,” Thompson pointed out. “We have a lot of guys with minimal experience and they weren’t put into situations that varsity players and coaches put you in.

“We’re going to improve on those things and work to become a contender at sectional time.”

Peru travels to Plymouth Friday before turning around to play its opening TRC game of the year at home to Northfield. Thompson said practice would be focused on continuing to fine tune the things that needed work, adding that wins would come along as long as the team focused on themselves.

“We look better defensively at this point of the year than we did at the end of last year,” Thompson said. “Right now, we’re working on our own stuff, recognizing what the other team is giving us and understanding what we need to get done when we need to.

“If we take care of ourselves, we can put ourselves in a position to win games.”

At Knox

Peru 5 4 16 5 — 30

Knox 14 10 10 11 — 45

Scoring

Peru — Gysin 9, Crowe 8, Fuller 5, Adejokun 4, Majors 3, Chandler 1

Knox — Broeker 18, Coad 12, C. Krueger 7, Fletcher 4, Binkley 2, Prater 2 

Next Game: Peru (0-2) travels to Plymouth (3-1) Friday at 6:15 p.m.