Perry vs. Basha Basketball: The rivalry that never ceases

Perry vs. Basha

The rivalry that never ceases

Joey Liberatore – January 10, 2015

Perry (13-2) Basha (12-5) both previously coming off an emotional game against each other on December 30th, 2014. The story about the game has been told time and time again around the district, and even in the state. The game involved devastating injuries to both squads. The injuries included one to Basha’s big man Devin Kirby (@Dkirby_31) as well as one to Perry’s point guard, 2017 ASU commit, Markus Howard (@Markushoward11) who currently averages 31-points-a-game. The emotional game took place during the annual McClintock tournament when both of these teams squared off in the championship game in which Basha brought home the hardware. But on this night, things were a little different; Perry got the better of the two.

Both of these teams came into the game wanting to win for their respective schools, as well as their sidelined players. Basha’s team rallied behind Kirby throughout the week, while they even sported “31 Strong” shirts as their pre-game warm up’s. Student’s even participated with the shirts as they bought them for $10 dollars each; all of the money was donated to the Kirby family to help pay for his medical bills. However, Perry had a few reasons why this game wasn’t necessarily more important to them than it was to Basha, but why it was more necessary and urgent for them to win. Yes, Perry wanted to win for their fans and for Markus. But, they wanted to prove to the state that they could beat a well rounded team and be competitive without Markus. In a conversation after the game with Perry guards Tayt Smith and Wyatt Stoltzfus they mentioned, (Tayt) “It was a huge thing for the team and for each other we finally had a chance to play and prove that we are more than just Markus” , (Wyatt) “I think it was important to show that we can win as a team. To me that was one of the best team wins we’ve had this  year, everyone stepped up their game to a new level last night and it was next man up the whole game”.


Game Time
A special start to the game arose when Devin Kirby entered the gym at Perry high school. For about three minutes the rivalry between the two schools were set aside, as Devin received a warm welcomed standing ovation from both sides of the gym. I myself got chills for the young man. When the first quarter arrived the only chills in the room had to be down Coach Babinski spine, as his squad was getting out-rebounded, out-shot, and well of course outplayed. Klay Stall (@iKlayStall_5) to start the game was dominant on the glass, and also on the offensive side of the ball as he made his first two shots from down low. Also for Basha, senior David Perez had the hot hand in the first, nailing a few three’s. When it was all said and done Basha was up 15-4 after the horn sounded finalizing the first quarter. The Lord said you gotta rise up!  Perry wasn’t going to give up. In fact they did the opposite; during quarter number two Perry spread out the court and shared the ball much more in an offense ran by junior Kyle Van Haren (@Kvanharen23). Like Gravy on a biscuit, it’s all good! Complete opposite of a quarter for the teams as Basha mercifully only scored five points while Perry pounded out 14. The halftime score would be 20-18. Doesn’t look like a typical score for these two high octane offenses.

Now in the Second Half, the low scoring trend continued as both teams ripped off 14 points each in the third quarter. Setting the stage for what could be a legendary fourth. Kyle Van Haren was stealing the show for Perry in the half offensively and defensively, John Schlangen (@JohnSchlangen35) was also a key factor in the teams tremendous comeback as he added 13 points in the game. Now, for Basha all game I loved watching Bryan Baptiste. He was a fun, and energetic player to watch and was tremendous defensively especially near the end of the game. This game did not end in the fourth quarter, however Perry did win this game in the fourth. REASON: Perry had the ball tied up at 45 all, with 1:30 remaining on the board. Instead of shooting the rock they took advantage of the no shot clock, and ran the time all the way down to TEN, yes TEN seconds. They then took a shot, and missed. But the key point was they did not allow Basha a chance to make a play to win. These two teams gave the fans some free basketball, thank you. In OT Perry, like a dog told Basha to sit stay! As the Pumas absolutely worked the Bears. In fact the Bears didn’t score their first points until 20 seconds were remaining in the game; via two made free throws by Brian Baptiste. While Perry was electric, scoring 6 quick points, then once again did a great job managing the clock for the victory. Great clock management really won this game for Perry as well as the never say die attitude. Very well played game by both teams as this one goes down as an instant classic in this rivalry.

Bolded phrases are in loving memory of broadcaster Stuart Scott.

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Joey Liberatore

Program Director of 88.7 The Pulse. Sports talk show host, "The Sports Mafia"