by Beau Wicker
There was a sense of wonder and excitement about how this new-look Logansport boys basketball team might look against Peru Wednesday night in the season opener at the Berry Bowl.
After the final buzzer sounded, the Berries fans went home impressed.
The Berries walloped the Tigers 91-48 in their highest scoring game in over a decade.
The 43-point margin of victory was their most since a 48-point win over Winamac in 2010. The 91 points scored was their most since a 93-90 win over Peru in 1999.
“It was surprising, but honestly we could have done better too,” said 6-5 sharp-shooter Carter Skaggs, who scored 29 points in his first game for the Red & Black after playing a major role for Pioneer the first two years of his career. “We had some mistakes but overall we played pretty well. I think our team chemistry was a little bit better than what I thought it’d be. We came out and just put it to them right away.”
Indeed, Skaggs had 19 by halftime as the Berries jumped out to a 45-22 lead at the break. They ended the half on a 17-0 run to break open what was a 28-22 ballgame.
The Berries continued pouring it on in the third quarter, going on a 15-0 run late in the fame and taking a 65-33 lead into the fourth.
A.J. Smith had 20 points for the Berries and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. Skaggs knocked down five treys on the night and Wyatt Kelley added one for a total of nine for Logansport.
“I was really tickled with the play of A.J. Smith,” said Logan coach Pat Skaggs, who won in his debut for the Berries. “He’s just a crafty little guy that knows how to play. He’s just an excellent rebounder for his size. He just has such a knack for knowing where the ball is going to be and he’s just a good all-around player.
“We had multiple guys step up and do positive things for us. I was real excited about our first game.”
Andrew Wamsley, the lone senior starter for LHS, scored eight points. Kelley, Travis Palmer and Jalen Adaway each had seven. Matt Jennings had six and Brad Nies chipped in four.
Adaway’s first two baskets of his career were thunderous two-handed putback dunks for the 6-4 freshman.
Michael Richardson and Eddie Childers scored 14 points apiece to lead the Tigers. Seth Adelsperger, a 6-11 junior who has been offered by Indiana State and Valparaiso, added 10 points.
But Adelsperger sat out about eight minutes of the first half after picking up two quick fouls and fouled out with 4:24 left in the game.
“We wanted to take it at him,” Pat Skaggs said. “He is 6-foot-11 and he is a shot blocker, but we just wanted to drive right at him and see what we could do. And fortunately for us we got a couple quick fouls on him.”
Peru coach Jim Metcalfe said his big man needs to do a better job of avoiding fouls.
“I thought four of his five fouls were his own fault, being out of position, jumping. He just has to contest because he’s long, all he has to do is get his hands up and contest,” he said. “We just decided to let him play through it. He’s got to learn how to play in foul trouble because we can’t afford to not have him on the floor.”
Peru’s leading scorer of a year ago, Logan Primerano, is ineligible and not on the team this year but could possibly return for his senior season next year, Metcalfe said.
Overall the Peru coach was not happy with how his team played Wednesday.
“It’s frustrating, discouraging. I didn’t think we’d come out and play like that,” he said. “We’re a better basketball team than that by far, but we can’t give up 91 points in any game and expect to win, especially when offensively we’re struggling. We don’t shoot the ball particularly well right now. And I thought our decision making was not very good and our passing was poor.
“We’ve just got a lot of things to work on. It’s early in the year. It’s a marathon not a sprint. The kids have worked hard, that’s why it’s really discouraging. They’ve worked hard and practiced well in the first couple weeks but it just didn’t carry over into the game.”
Metcalfe was an assistant under Skaggs in Skaggs’ first two years at Pioneer.
“First and foremost, I’m not crazy about playing against coach Metcalfe. He’s a good friend and a good coach,” Skaggs said. “It’s one of those things where I hope he goes 19-1 the rest of the way. Fortunately for us I thought we came out and had good energy and good enthusiasm. And fortunately for us we made some shots early. So I thought we did a lot of good things in our first game. My goodness, there’s all kinds of things to work on. But I thought the guys that came off the bench gave us a lift and I thought it was a total team effort.”
The Berries host Maconaquah on Saturday night. It will be the Braves’ season opener.
Peru next hosts Wabash on Dec. 6.