On Wednesday evening, the 6A State Playoffs began around the state with many exciting first-round match-ups taking place. No first-round match-up was more exciting than a meeting between two of the state's top 6A programs, #12 seed Perry High School and #5 seed Brophy Prep. Both these two programs were teams that I had predicted before the season would go deep into the 6A State Playoffs, but both programs have seen their struggles this high school season - making for a very exciting playoff contest on Wednesday evening.
Perry (14-13) has one of the state's most talented lineups, led by two of the top post prospects in the state, 6-foot-9 junior post Duke Brennan (pictured) and 6-foot-11 sophomore Dylan Anderson. Brophy Prep (17-9) has an experienced ballclub and is loaded with talent, led by the overall play of 6-foot-5 senior forward Joe Feeney, 6-foot-3 senior forward Arnold Dates and 6-foot-6 senior post Basil Ribakare. It would make for a very exciting contest for the fans in attendance.
Both teams would compete hard in the first quarter to gain an edge on one another, but after a 3-pointer from the corner from Dylan Anderson late in the period, Perry would take a 18-14 advantage with a minute to play in the period.
Perry would increase their lead to 21-14 with 7:30 to play in the first half, after a three-pointer from 6-foot-2 junior guard Christian Tucker. Perry would then increase their lead to 11-points, 25-14, after a nice driving floater from talented 6-foot-2 freshman guard Cody Williams.
But Brophy would fight back. A three-pointer from 6-foot junior guard Desi Burrage would pull Brophy back to within 6 points of Brophy, 25-19, mid-way through the period.
A mid-range jumper from Dylan Anderson before the half-time buzzer would allow Perry to take a 29-23 halftime lead.
In the third period, Brophy would climb back - tieing the contest at 29 all with 4:51 left to play, after a three-pointer from 6-foot-3 freshman guard Patrick Chew.
Perry's Duke Brennan was a strong force inside the paint for Perry all night, and Brennan's basket inside the paint after being fouled - giving Perry back the lead. Perry would take a narrow 36-33 lead into the fourth.
In the fourth, Perry would increase their lead to 40-33 with 7 minutes left to play, before Brophy Prep would make their final charge. With 3:42 left to play, Joe Fenney would tie the game with a huge three-pointer, 40 all. After two big free-throws late from Chew, Brophy would take back the lead, 42-41.
But again Brennan would come up big for Perry, scoring a basket inside on a strong move and giving Perry back the lead, 43-42, with 1:31 left to play in the playoff match-up.
For the last minute of the game, Brophy would work extremely hard inside to make a play. After several offensive rebounds inside and attempted put-backs by the senior-laden team, Brophy would fail to convert but would retain the ball. With just seconds left on the clock on an inbounds play underneath their basket, Brophy's Basil Ribakare would cut to the basket and attempt a shot over the outstretched hands of Brennan, but Brennan's length would block the shot - giving Perry the big road playoff win, 43-42, and ending Brophy's hopes of advancing.
Perry will now advance to face #4 seed Skyline High School on Saturday evening in the second round of the 6A State Playoffs. Skyline blew out #13 seed Corona Del Sol HS 81-53 in their first round match-up.