On Wednesday, the Perry County Central Commodores returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2011. The Commodores took on the Pikeville Panthers in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen.
Both teams started tentative as the surroundings were a little unnerving. The largest lead of the period would be two points, with Pikeville finishing the period with the 9-8 lead.
From the beginning of the second period, it was obvious that Perry Central was beginning to find their groove. The Commodores looked more at ease during the period, and began to build a small lead.
The Commodores would go up by six in the frame, but allowed the Panthers to get the last shot of the quarter. Going into the locker room, Perry Central held the 23-20 advantage.
Perry Central came out of the break ready to play, and quickly set the tone for the second half. The Commodores raced out to the double-digit lead, and settled in on the defensive end. At the third period horn, Perry Central had established a 40-27 lead.
The Commodores went up by more than 20 points in the fourth quarter, and kept the Panthers at bay down the stretch. Perry Central was able to keep the game out of reach, keeping Pikeville from extending the game from the free throw line.
The Commodores moved on to the “Elite Eight” behind an impressive 61-46 win. Perry Central will take on Scott, who defeated Harlan County, in the quarter finals.
Perry Central (61) Damon Tobler 12 (9 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal and 1 block), Idris Akenyemi 10 (7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 4 blocks), Noah Back 9 (3 rebounds and 4 assists), Austin Hill 12 (4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block), Princewill Anosike 10 (15 rebounds, 1 assist and 6 blocks), Chandler Caudill 4 (4 assists and 1 steal), Richard Cornett (3 rebounds and 1 assist), Dylan Combs (1 steal), Jacob Woolum 2, and Noah Caudill 2.
Pikeville (42) Kyle Watkins 4, Wyatt Battle 7, Evan Rhodes 6, Connor Roberts 5, Cade Byers 8, Jose Childers 3, Grayson Harris 2, Connor Risner 5, Kobe Brown 2 and Zach Hamilton 4.
Tony McGuire can be reached via email at [email protected]