By BRANDON SHRIDER
RAWSON — Wednesday’s season opener for Cory-Rawson was not quite the double-overtime thriller it played against Lima Perry a season ago.
But the Hornets, who turned the ball over 11 times in the first quarter, did not let the Commodores run away with a drubbing, either.
Cory-Rawson clawed back for a fourth-quarter lead but had its own miscues in falling just short 58-51 to Perry at The Hive.
Lima Perry improved to 1-1 on the season.
“It was difficult to run anything all night long. That’s just how it was,” C-R coach Dean Birchmeier said. “You’d go out there and it’s kind of like a wide-open, open-gym style that they play and you have to get used to that. They were able to play their style more than we were able to play our style.”
The Hornets, who finished with 25 turnovers, made their run out of halftime.
Logan Stuckey opened the half with a bucket, finishing through contact and less than a minute later 6-foot-2 junior post Tommy Stauffer — who notched team-highs of 15 points and six rebounds — buried a 3-pointer.
Carson Houck, a fellow 6-2 junior post, followed it up with a triple of his own a few possessions later sparking an 11-5 third quarter for C-R.
“They come out with high pressure and we knew that they were going to do that and that we were going to have to be able to play ourselves into the game,” Birchmeier said. “(It) took a little longer to play ourselves into the game than what I was hoping.
“Sometimes it was just a matter of making two or three passes without turning it over. They would overplay someone and we would get a wide-open look.”
The Hornets forced 19 turnovers of their own and kept the pressure on. They opened the final frame with a 10-2 run, ignited by Brandon Zuercher’s 3 just 14 seconds in.
Perry’s Chazz Jackson, who scored a game-high 17 points, answered with a quick layup. Cory-Rawson played the first 3:30 of the fourth quarter without its senior captain, point guard Matthew Roth, as he sat with four fouls.
Stauffer scored twice, the latter bucket coming on an unorthodox post shot to put the Hornets ahead 46-44 for the first time, sandwiched around a game-tying Stuckey triple.
“They started making some turnovers and I think we got a couple baskets off of their turnovers. And then we just took care of the ball a little bit better during that stretch and that enabled us to get some decent looks,” Birchmeier said.
Kyle Schultz (eight points) knocked down a 3 from the left wing two minutes later to re-tie the game at 49-49. But the Commodores outscored the Hornets 9-2 over the final 2:50.
Stauffer had a chance to add to his team-high scoring with 1:44 left. Trailing by three, 52-49, the junior drove to the basket from the left block, muscled through the help defense for bucket followed by a whistle.
The official, though, signaled an offensive foul to contribute to a growing turnover total for the Hornets and Perry hit a handful of free throws in the waning moments to cling to the win.
“We made about three turnovers there, down the stretch, that killed us,” Birchmeier said. “Then we got a charge that was a tough call on us, so you put all those things together and that ended up losing the game.”
LIMA PERRY (1-1)
Jackson 7-2–17, Hoersten 1-0–2, Whiteside 3-6–13, Yingst 4-5–13, White 0-1–1, Riley 2-2–6, Davis 1-0–2, Knight 1-2–4, Walker 0-0–0, Cooper 0-0–0. TOTALS: 19-42 18-27 — 58.
Stauffer 5-4–15, Schultz 3-0–8, Stuckey 4-0–10, Houck 2-0–5, Roth 0-4–4, Zuercher 3-1–9, Wolford 0-0–0, Lee 0-0–0. TOTALS: 17-34 9-13–51.
Lima Perry 23 14 5 16 — 58
Cory-Rawson 15 10 11 15 — 51
3-Point GOALS: Lima Perry 2-8 (Jackson & Whiteside 1); Cory-Rawson 8-17 (Stuckey, Schultz & Zuercher 2, Houck & Stauffer 1).
rebounds: Lima Perry 24 (Jackson & White 5); Cory-Rawson 13 (Stauffer 5).
turnovers: Lima Perry 19, Cory-Rawson 26.
junior varsity: Lima Perry, 44-36.