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Last-gasp Majors basket wins it for Peru

BY MATT FULLER - Peru Tribune Correspondent

 Since upsetting Frankfort Sectional foe Northwestern in the Tig-Arena, Peru had fallen into a three-game skid, losing to Whitko, Tipton, and the rematch with Maconaquah. 

Back in action at the Tig-Arena Friday night, the Tigers returned to form, building a 12-point lead before late Squire runs and missed opportunities from the free throw line set up Daunte Majors to secure the 60-59 win on a lay-in as time expired. 

Peru head coach Eric Thompson praised his team’s resilience. 

“I’m just very proud of the guys to just keep plugging away. We’ve been on the wrong side of the ‘W’ for the last three games but, as a whole, we’ve been doing a lot of good things,” Thompson said. 

“It’s great that the guys kept working hard, plugging away, believing in each other and the system. We still didn’t put a complete four quarters together—that we know we can do—but sure put pretty close to that in. We did a lot of good things against a very tough ball team.” 

Gavin Gysin cashed in the opening layup for Peru on a fast break just under a minute into play before matching Koehl Fluke’s three-pointer. 

DJ Fuller also sank a triple for Peru, but Mason Hamby’s three-pointer, Weston Hamby’s two fast break layups, and the two joining Fluke to each knock down a pair free throws enabled Manchester to close the first quarter with a 18-12 lead. 

Manchester head coach Mark Underwood noted the athleticism of Peru, adding that the Tigers shot the ball better than they had anticipated. 

“First of all, you’ve really got to give Peru credit,” Underwood said. “Coach Thompson had his team ready to play. They’ve struggled shooting the ball from the outside all year, but tonight they really found the mark. They hit a lot of outside shots.” 

Hot shooting helped Peru close the gap in the second quarter as Fuller drilled two of his four threes in the frame and Gysin hit his second before tying the game 20-20 on a pair of free throws. 

The two then linked up to halt a 6-0 Squire run when Gysin found Fuller slipping past the defense on the weak baseline for an alley-oop. Peru finished the half on a 7-0 run with a three from Fuller, a bucket from Crowe, and Gysin’s two free throws to even the score at 29-29. 

The first quarter saw five fouls called on the Tigers while the Squires managed to only commit one, a stat that would even out to 8-5 before the half, but left Adejokun, Crowe, and Fuller all on the brink of foul trouble. 

“We weren’t attacking like we should early,” Thompson said. “We were settling for pullup jump shots and threes—and they were going in—DJ got hot again, which we needed badly, that helped. And then that opened it up so we could attack more, but we could have attacked early.” 

Peru would attack early in the second half as Crowe and Major opened the third quarter with a pair of baskets before Adejokun’s three-point play off a Gysin no-look pass sparked an 8-0 Tiger run, one capped off by Majors’ three-point play moments after finding Fuller for what was almost his second alley-oop dunk of the night.

 The 26-point quarter gave Peru a 55-44 lead entering the final eight minutes of play. 

As Peru downshifted—looking to run some time off the clock—Manchester took advantage putting together a 13-0 run, capped off by Weston Hamby’s layup with 13 seconds remaining for their first lead of the half at 59-58. 

“We came out strong after being tied at the half, we built a nice lead, and then learned even though we started playing the clock—and we haven’t been there that much this year—but start playing the clock and you’ve still got to attack too,” Thompson said. 

Gysin then had a good look on the ensuing drive that didn’t fall but Majors was there for the rebound in traffic, having the patience and strength to go up with contact and connect for the game-winner as time expired.

 “They played a really good game tonight,” Said Underwood. “They’ve got a lot of weapons out there, a lot of athleticism, and I have a feeling they’re going to finish this season strong. 

“As far as my team goes, I’m really proud of them for not giving in—not throwing in the towel. I think a lot of teams could be down 12 halfway through the fourth quarter and just give up. My guys kept battling back, got the lead, and there at the end we got a stop—we just didn’t block out and rebound and Majors got in there and really made a nice play for the put back. We’re just going to try to learn from this and move forward.”    

Peru missed the front end of three one-and-one free throw attempts down the stretch as their 12-point lead evaporated, but Thompson noted how his team is learning to overcome adversity and find ways to win. 

“They’re learning, and we did a good job of keeping our composure and finishing the game. We missed a couple of free throws late and could have hung our heads, we still stuck with it. They hit a bucket with about 13 seconds left—we could have hung our heads—we stuck with it and got it done. I’m very proud of them.” 

Manchester held off Peru 54-51 in junior varsity action. Kreeden Krull led the Squires with 14 while Max Carter chipped in 13, and Caleb Stout (10), Mason Meyer (6), Thane Creager (5), Isaiah Davis (4), and Andrew McAtee (2) rounded out the scoring for Manchester. 

Peru was paced by Blake Edwards and Kade Townsend with 13 apiece, getting help from Preston Jenkins (10), Michael Chandler (9) and Treyden Curtis (6).


At Peru

Manchester 18 11 15 15 — 59 

Peru 12 17 26 5 — 60


Manchester — W. Hamby 16, M. Hamby 16, Fluke 11, Lester 9, Casper 7

Peru — Gysin 18, Fuller 17, Majors 10, Adejokun 9, Crowe 6