Perrow leads L’Anse to win

HANCOCK – L’Anse got 30 points from James Veker in a 73-33 Wednesday win over rival Baraga, but without his services Friday the Purple Hornets got a career-high 30 from Daniel Perrow in a come-from-behind 57-46 road win – their first WestPAC win – over Hancock.

The Bulldogs, whose seven-game win streak came to an end, jumped out to an 11-0 lead early, led 19-14 after one and held a 30-23 lead at the half, until the Hornets’ swarming defense paced a 20-10 L’Anse third quarter. The visitors finally caught up at 39-39 and broke free from a 43-43 tie early in the fourth, and with more clutch shots and even tighter defense, they put the game out of reach in the final two minutes.

“I thought it was our best effort of the year. It was a great team win,” L’Anse coach Mike Ostermeyer said. “I thought we played with a lot of heart tonight, and we hit a lot of big shots.”

No bigger than Perrow early on.

Trailing 11-0 just three minutes into the game and already surrendering seven points to 6-foot-7 Bulldog center Alex Almquist, it looked like it would be a long night for the Veker-less Hornets, until Perrow put the team on his back.

Finally 3:25 into the game, Perrow put L’Anse on the board with a triple from the left corner: 11-3. After a Brian Kass layup-and-one on the other end, Perrow hit again from the same spot: 14-6. After Shane Raasio answered with a three of his own, Perrow did it yet again, this time from the left wing: 17-9. Almquist responded with a pull-up jumper, but … you guessed it, Perrow struck again from the left wing with 1:01 left in the quarter.

Only a pair of Brett Martinez free throws supplemented Perrow’s four triples – he was 6 for 10 beyond the arc in the game – to keep L’Anse within striking distance at 19-14.

“That was probably the best I’ve ever shot in a game,” Perrow said with a grin after the game. “My teammates got me the ball in a lot in places I could score, and it was a good win. … It sucks that Veker was out, but knowing that we can win a nice big conference game without him helped our confidence a lot.”

Things still looked pretty sketchy for the visitors in the second quarter, though, as Almquist poured in six more of his team-high 26 points. He also added nine rebounds in the game, and was perhaps most noticeable on the defensive end, blocking five shots, altering countless others and all but sealing off the paint.

But it really didn’t matter. L’Anse simply worked the ball around the perimeter, whether the Bulldogs lined up in man or zone, and was content to live or die by the long ball. They thrived to the tune of nine trifectas on 25 attempts.

“We wanted to attack, but we were hoping we could get kick-outs for threes. We did, and we made them,” Ostermeyer said. “I was very happy with our execution on offense – first time I think I’ve said that all year.”

Once Hancock slowly did adjust to the three-point onslaught, L’Anse pump faked and drilled an even better percentage from two-point range (57 percent: 12 of 21), many of them pull-up mid-range jumpers.

“We didn’t show up to play,” Hancock coach Curtis Wittenberg said. “I don’t know what happened as far as we go in the locker room before the game and everyone’s all pumped up, acting like they’re ready to go, and they go out on the court and they’re a completely different group of guys. L’Anse wanted it more than we did. Give them credit, they played hard, and (Perrow) made every open look he had and then some.”

Perrow nailed a Steve Nash-like runner and a layup shortly thereafter to cut L’Anse’s deficit to 33-29 early in the third. Almquist came back with a right-wing three and an old-fashioned three-point play, only for Perrow to respond with his other two threes in quick succession.

Joey Hansen tallied a layup with 1:40 left in the third quarter to make it 39-all, and Hancock, thanks to sound Hornet defense, could never stall L’Anse’s momentum.

Jonny Magaraggia, Keith Denomie and, of course Perrow, hit three shots in a 40-second spurt to break a 43-all deadlock, and any chances of a Bulldog comeback were nullified by missing the front end of two one-and-ones.

Hancock had only committed three team fouls with 1:21 left, so they spent 30 seconds of game time just getting L’Anse to the free throw line. Several Bulldog desperation threes clanked off the iron.