Perry Ends Wildcats' Season

Minster's Aaron Ernst fights through a Perry double team in the first quarter of Tuesday's Division IV district semifinal. Tuesday's game was the final one for Ernst and four other Minster seniors.
Sports Editor

The Minster Wildcats boys basketball team’s first season under Mike McClurg ended on Tuesday night as Perry’s all-night full-court pressure and occasional offensive runs were just too much to handle for the Wildcats in a 62-50 Division IV district semifinal at Wapakoneta High School.

Minster’s season ends at 13-10 overall and silences a three-game win streak, while Perry (22-3) will play Fort Recovery in a district final on Friday.

“Their pressure is just constant and their on-the-ball pressure is so good, you never know when that trap is coming,” said the Wildcats coach McClurg. “As you get tired, how good are you as you get tired.”

The Commodores’ full-court press defense tired the Wildcats throughout the night, resulting in eight steals for Perry and forced Minster to shoot just 7-of-32 from the field in the second half. Perry finished with 19-of-38 shooting from the field (50 percent).

Despite the Commodores’ relentless in-your-face pressure, the 13-win Wildcats kept the game close until the fourth quarter.

Minster’s prime chance to regain a lead that was non-existent since the first quarter occurred in the early minutes of the third quarter.

Opening the second half trailing 26-20, the Wildcats scored the first four points into pull within two, 26-24 with 7:26 left after a pair of free throws by Aaron Ernst.

But Minster missed the next two shots as Perry’s Plummie Gardner knocked down a three to push the Commodores’ lead back to five, 29-24 with 6:23 remaining. Isaac Dorsten’s free throw closed the game to its closest score for the rest of the game at 29-25 with 6:08 left, but Perry scored the next six points for a 35-25 advantage with 3:59 remaining to complete a 9-1 run during a 2:23 period. Minster did not score a bucket for 3:16 throughout the third quarter.

For a full story, grab a copy of Wednesday's The Evening Leader.