BY CLIFF HICKMAN
PERRY TWP. One big run was all it took for the MASSILLON boys basketball team Saturday night.
The Tigers won 59-48, but not before they engaged in a physical back-and-forth battle with rival PERRY. The game was close until MASSILLON was able to catch fire near the end of the third quarter and go on a 13-0 run that extended into the fourth quarter and decided the game.
The big run was keyed by juniors Jordan Stock and Terrance Block. The pair combined to score 11 of the points during the run.
“Those two are our leaders,” MASSILLON head coach Larry Taylor said. “I’ve challenged those two maybe more than I should have, but they have handled it exceptionally well. They accept their roles and they do great things for us. I was proud of the way we played.
“This was an exciting game, and we had a really great crowd travel with us tonight. Any time you can get a win against a backyard rival on the road, it’s big.”
Stock finished with a team-high 20 points, while Block added 15. Block also made six straight free throws in the fourth quarter to help seal the game.
The Tigers rebounded quickly from a heartbreaking one-point loss to Central Catholic on Friday night.
“Our kids are great kids,” Taylor said. “We hit some adversity last night, but I told this team the very first day on the job that your season isn’t going to be measured in wins and losses. It’s going to be measured how you deal with adversity. The kids really worked hard today and did a great job defensively.”
Taylor knew his team was going to respond after a talk earlier in the day.
“We had a great shootaround today,” Taylor said. “Coming back from a night like last night is always a test, but they responded. I sat them down and just told them to get back to loving one another and play team basketball.
“They had a good laugh at that but these are just fantastic kids. I wish there were more minutes in the game so I could give them more minutes.”
Responding wasn’t easy. PERRY made life difficult and the game was tied at 25 at the half.
“PERRY did a tremendous job tonight,” Taylor said. “Cole Piatko played really well for them. He scored 14 points for them. Mark Randulic is a great coach and I think his program is going to be one to watch out for in the future. They really played us tough tonight.”
Reach Cliff at 330-580-8494 or
MASSILLON 59, PERRY 48
MASSILLON (6-2) Rodgers 3 2-2 8, Stewart 3 1-2 7, Block 4 7-8 15, Johnson 3 0-0 6, Broyles 1 0-0 3, Stock 7 5-6 20. Totals 21 15-18 59.
PERRY (3-8) Piatko 4 5-6 14, McHenry 3 1-2 8, Massie 4 0-1 8, Richards 3 2-2 8, Vega 3 1-1 7, Sibert 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 9-12 48.
MASSILLON 9 16 16 18 — 59
PERRY 13 12 9 14 — 48
3-point goals—Broyles, Stock, Piatko, McHenry, Sibert. Fouls—MASSILLON 17-15. Fouled out—Johnson, Rodgers.