On Wednesday, January 23rd the Chandler Wolves (12-12) hosted the Perry Pumas (15-8). It was a rematch of 15 days ago that had Chandler defeating Perry by 6 (63-57). Tonight Perry would be looking for some revenge. It was an important game for both teams, who were trying to make the state playoffs with only 4-5 games left.
Perry would draw first blood and 6-foot-4 junior forward Jake Mortenson went right to work and scored a lay up for a 2 to 0 lead for Perry. 5-foot-10 junior PG Jordan Howard then hit a 3-pointer for a 5-0 lead. Jordan Howard hit for 2 more points a few plays later for a 9 to 3 Perry lead.
Perry was dominating inside by altering shots and making lay-ups. Then 6-foot-6 junior Geoffrey Vredevoogd made a lay-up for a huge early first quarter 11 to 3 lead. Jordan Howard hit for another basket a few plays later for a crazy, 15 to 3 lead for Perry.
Perry basically just punched Chandler in the mouth to open this game out. This led me thinking that with star 6-foot-4 senior forward Kyndahl Holmes (out with an ACL injury), the game might have been different.
Finally, 6-foot junior guard Marco Morales hit a deep 3-pointer for a 15 to 6 lead for Perry with 1:37 left in the quarter. Chandler then gained some momentum with an amazing steal and lay-up by senior 5-foot-9 PG Daquise Gaines - closing out the first quarter for a 17 to 10 lead for Perry.
The second period started with more of the same, as Howard hit a 3-pointer for a 20 to 10 lead. Then a free-throw from Gaines and a lay-up by 6-foot-4 junior forward Jared McCleery for a 20 to 13 Perry lead.
Howard then made a beautiful bounce-pass to senior 5-foot-10 PG Nathan Henderson for a 22 to 13 lead with 5 minutes left to play in the first half.
Henderson repaid the favor for a nice assist to senior 6-foot-4 forward CJ Dunlap for a 25 to 13 Perry lead. Then Mortenson made three lay-ups in a row from three assists from Henderson for a 31 to 15 lead for Perry.
Perry had a big lead at the half for a 36 to 17 advantage. Jordan Howard had 11 points and Jake Mortensen had 12 for Perry.
The third period started off with a Nathan Henderson steal/hoop and assist for a 40 to 17 lead. Then Howard added two more lay-ups from two nice passes by Henderson for a 44 to 17 lead.
5-foot-10 junior PG Kevin Vogl made two layups, along with Gaines, and then Howard made two more lay-ups for a huge 52 to 23 lead with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. Howard then made a circus shot for his two hardest points of the night for a 54 to 23 lead. Every time you thought Chandler might go on a run, Howard scored.
Daquise Gaines was still fighting though, with a slick lay-up for a 56 to 28 Perry lead.
Howard then sliced through the defense for an assist to Vredevoogd for a 58 to 28 lead. Then we had the Howard specialty - the mid range shot for two more points, giving Perry a huge 60 to 29 lead.
Chandler head coach Mike Ellsworth wasn’t very happy with his starters, as he put in the entire bench - leaving myself and other scouts trying to find out whom the players were.
The game from there was all but over, as both benches were now in the game - giving Perry a huge win on the road to continue their quest to make a playoff push.
The final score was 66 to 45 for Perry. The inefficient play of Chandler’s forwards and the tremendous play of the Perry guards were the story of this game.
Jordan Howard finished with a game-high 25 points and 4 assists. Nathan Henderson had 14 assists and 6 points, and Jake Mortenson scored 12 for Perry.
Daquise Gaines had 9 points, 2 assists and 2 steals in the loss for Chandler.
Quick Hitters: Perry and Chandler have some impressive young talent on the way. Perry has two brothers - 5-foot-8 freshman PG Kyle Van Haren and 5-foot-11 sophomore PG Austin Van Haren. Perry also has 5-foot-11 freshman PG Bryce Fisher, who is my pick as the best freshman PG in state.
Chandler has two young forwards on the way with 6-foot-4 freshman PF James Scoggins and 6-foot-4 sophomore PF/QB Bryce Perkins. Bryce has already received offers from UCLA and ASU for football.