It was a shootout in the Berry Bowl in a season opening game between Logansport and Peru on Tuesday night.
Both teams were making big shot after big shot and big play after big play down the stretch. Michael Chandler drew a foul with 1.5 seconds left and hit the second of two free throws to lift the Bengal Tigers to a 65-64 win.
It was Peru’s first win over Logan since a 2011 win in the Berry Bowl. The Berries had won eight straight in the series.
Logan lost despite shooting 53 percent from the field including 11 of 23 from 3-point range (48 percent).
But the Berries allowed the Tigers to shoot 51 percent from the field including 6 of 14 from 3 (43 percent) and outscore them 15-1 from the foul line.
It was an exciting game to watch but Logansport coach Drew Schauss, who was making his high school head coaching debut, was looking for better defense from his team throughout.
“That’s not how we need to play. We fell into shooting, giving up back and forth 3’s, and that’s not how we play,” Schauss said. “But I’m proud of our guys for fighting. We showed a little bit of our lack of varsity experience when we got up nine in that third quarter by not stepping on a team, and that’s also a testament to Peru. They’re well coached, they’re varsity experienced players and they’re tough kids. I’m proud of our kids and how they fought. That’s something we need to learn from.”
It was a close game most of the way. The Berries led 17-15 after one quarter and 28-26 at halftime. They led 47-36 with 2:00 left in the third before the Tigers got to within 47-41 entering the fourth.
The Tigers did a lot of damage early in the fourth from the foul line. Trey Curtis’ and-one basket with 4:50 remaining gave them a 50-49 lead, their first lead since the second quarter. Curtis missed the foul shot but the Tigers got the rebound and Chandler eventually hit a 3-pointer for a five-point possession to swing the momentum of the game.
But Malachi Pearson hit back-to-back 3s to put Logan back on top 55-54. Kade Townsend answered with a 3 before Noah Lange answered back with a 3. Curtis’ driving score put Peru back up 59-58 before Lange drilled another 3 to put Logan up 61-59 with 1:40 left.
But Daunte Majors answered with a 3 in the corner to again give Peru the advantage. The Berries had three shots at it on their next possession but an empty possession turned into two free throws by Majors to make it 64-61 with 33.8 seconds left.
But James Plantz drilled a 3 from the left corner for his first points of the season to tie the game with 19.7 seconds left.
The Berries nearly stole the ball a couple times on Peru’s final possession but Chandler came up with the ball and was fouled on a jumper from the left elbow with 1.5 seconds left. He made the second free throw to give the Tigers the lead for good.
“It was a foul. I have no argument with that,” Schauss said. “That’s also an experience thing. Our guys have got to be able to not do that. But again, they played their hearts out, both teams did, it was a great basketball game, we just ended up on the wrong side of it. That happens. But the good thing is the sun comes up tomorrow, we get another game we’re going to learn and grow from.
“Sometimes the basketball doesn’t bounce your way. I think for 16.5 seconds we played unbelievable defense, disciplined, took away what they were wanting to go, and we just fouled. It’s a maturity thing, we’ll learn from it, but it hurts.”
The Berries had the length of the court to go and Pearson’s desperation heave from beyond halfcourt was on line but fell short as time expired.
The Berries attempted just three foul shots to the Tigers’ 24 for the game.
“We were very undisciplined in our fouls,” Schauss said. “I think guys were swiping at it and they’ve got to be able to show their hands and that’s going to come with experience. The game’s faster, the game’s more physical, and they’re going to grow and learn. It’s something they’re going to learn from and we’re going to take and implement it into our practices.”
Evan Hassett had 21 points on 10 of 15 shooting and the 6-7 senior pulled down five boards for Logan. Lange scored 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting from 3-point range in what was the sophomore’s varsity debut. Pearson, a 6-4 junior, had 16 points, seven boards, six assists and two blocks and was 4 of 8 shooting from distance.
Senior point guard Juan Alvarado added two points, four boards, six assists and four steals. Caleb Crook added three assists and two steals as he was another sophomore who drew a varsity start.
“Noah Lange and those guys, Malachi, have played more JV, they put in the time, they’ve earned that and I think they’re showing people that they are varsity basketball players,” Schauss said. “We’ve got guys who will show improvement who didn’t play very well tonight.
“I just told our guys you believe in each other, ‘we believe in you, take your shots.’ But we are a team that’s rooted in the defensive side. Some people might be happy with 65 points, I’m not. Our goal was 45 and it started when we let them come back in the first and then it happened again in the third. We’ve got to be able to stop and sustain runs.”
Curtis scored 19 points for the Tigers. Majors had 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Matthew Ross had 13 points and seven boards. Chandler finished with eight points, and Townsend had seven points, four assists and three steals.