With the focus on teammate Tyler Eberhart, Kenton Ridge High School senior Collin Perkins knew it was his turn to step up against his team’s biggest rival.
“If you take something away, you’ve got to give something up,” the 6-foot-8 post said. “I just went in there, got physical and did my job.”
Trailing Shawnee by 15 points midway through the second quarter, Kenton Ridge rallied to take a third-quarter lead and held on for a 48-45 victory in Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division action in front of a packed house on Friday night.
Perkins had a career-high 21 points as the Cougars improved to 6-4 and 3-2 in the Kenton Trail Division. It was just the second time all season he had scored in double figures.
“I’m glad my teammates were able to get me the ball to help me help us win,” Perkins said. “It feels great to beat Shawnee. That’s our rival.”
Shawnee senior Isaac Siemon had 19 points as the Braves (5-4, 2-3) lost their second straight game.
Kenton Ridge jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, but Shawnee went on a 12-6 run to end the first quarter to grab a 16-14 lead. The Braves jumped out to a 31-16 lead midway through the second quarter.
“We hit that 31 mark and it just fell apart,” said Shawnee coach Chris McGuire. “I thought we got passive and weren’t aggressive with some of our stuff. We didn’t play with confidence offensively for whatever reason and to their credit they took advantage of it.”
Perkins scored 12 points in the first quarter and hit several key buckets down the stretch. Eberhart, the CBC’s leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, had nine points in the win.
“They were really denying Tyler everywhere, so we tried to put him back side so they had no help,” Cougars coach Kris Spriggs. “(Perkins’) teammates found him on the back side and he was able to finish at the rim.”
When Siemon left the game with two fouls with about two minutes remaining in the first half, Kenton Ridge capitalized. The Cougars went on a 8-0 run to end the half to cut the lead to seven, grabbing the momentum as it headed into the locker room.
“When you’re not making shots, you have to get easier shots,” Spriggs said “We responded and started getting stops. We got some momentum and were able to get good shots from our good defense.”
KR went on a 14-3 run to start the third period to grab a 38-34 lead. They outscored the Braves 18-6 in the quarter. The key was picking up the intensity on defense, Perkins said.
“We knew we had to get back to playing good defense and that’s exactly what we did in the third quarter,” he said. “It really brought us back in the game.”
With about 40 seconds remaining, Shawnee’s Isaac Siemon hit a jumper to pull the Braves within four points at 46-42. After free throw misses by both Tyler Eberhart and Malcolm McKay, Shawnee’s Patrick Fultz hit a 3-pointer to pull the Braves with one point at 46-45.
The Braves fouled McKay, who hit two free throws to give the Cougars a three-point advantage. Shawnee’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer rimmed out.
“These kids don’t quit,” McGuire said. “We expect them to give us everything they’ve got and they did that. We had a shot to tie it, but it just didn’t work out. I’m proud of our effort.”