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Perry relies on 4th quarter stops to subdue Hamilton

February 22, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Hamilton's Adrian Galindo (12) is surrounded by Perry defenders as he drives the lane in the first half of Monday's 43-37 loss to the Pumas. (Azpreps365 photo)

It was a good thing for No. 2 power-ranked Perry the pace of Monday's rescheduled afternoon tilt with No. 6 Hamilton was deliberate, especially in the first half.

The Pumas seemed mesmerized, even content to play along in that span with the patient Huskies, who mounted a 19-11 lead after two quarters. Frustrated offensively the first half, Perry managed only four points in the second quarter and made one of seven field goals (all threes) in those eight minutes.

That changed in the third quarter as Perry junior guard Christian Tucker played as if he'd had his fill of the slow dancing. Tucker's energy ignited a second-half surge resulting in a come-from-behind 43-37 triumph over Hamilton in a 6A Premier Region game at Perry.

Tucker piled up 16 points in the second half - 10 in the third quarter. He pulled up for a three with time running out in the third quarter and swished the attempt from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded. Perry (11-1, 6-0 Premier Region) led after three quarters, 30-28. It was its first lead since early in the first quarter. The Pumas would not trail again, but needed a defense-dominated sequence over a nearly three-minute span of the final quarter to close the deal.

"They had the tempo going their way," Perry coach Sam Duane Jr. said. "We weren't mentally sharp, ready to play at the the start. We weren't moving a lot on offense. We changed that in the second half and began attacking more. I think we got six or eight points off turnovers late in the game that were huge."

Hamilton (7-5, 2-3 region) tied the game a final time at 32 with 5:46 left on two free throws by senior guard Adrian Galindo, who orchestrated Hamilton's offense. Galindo had nine of his 11 points in the first half. The tie was broken for good with 3:48 to go on a three by junior guard Kyle Waters, playing in his fifth game after transferring from Red Mountain after last season. 

Next came the Hamilton miscues. Perry's Cody Williams (nine points) scored on a drive on the first one. Tucker tallied via fast break with an assist off a loose ball gathered in by Dylan Anderson (nine points). Tucker nailed two free throws with 56 seconds left bumping the margin to 41-32.

Perry stays home Tuesday for its next game against Red Mountain. Hamilton returns to action Wednesday at home in a 5:30 tipoff against Basha.