BARBERTON, Ohio — Anywhere the Perry Pirates dribbled Tuesday night, the West Branch Warriors seemed to be.
The Pirates encountered stifling ball pressure from the Warriors at Barberton High School. Perry lost, 44-36, in the Division II regional semifinal, struggling to create good shots. With the win, the Warriors advanced to the Barberton regional final against Laurel.
Junior guard Madyson Hacking was the engine for the Pirates’ offense, handling the ball and scoring a game-high 17 points. As one of the team’s best shooters, Hacking made three 3-pointers.
“She’s one we rely on definitely for scoring, but she stepped up and we needed her scoring at big times, and she did that,” Perry coach Roy Infalvi Jr. said. “She’s done that for us the last couple years. She’s a great player, and I’m glad she’s only a junior. We have her back next year. But I’m really proud of her effort tonight.”
When Hacking and the Pirates would drive or put the ball on the floor, the Warriors had help ready, trying to seal off any driving lanes. Perry worked the ball around, but the Warriors covered each other well, being in the right spots to help.
“We’re used to our two main scorers being face guarded a lot, taken out of the game,” Infalvi said. “They did that tonight, but they also were pretty suffocating everywhere else, too. They didn’t allow us to get any penetration to the basket to try to open some of our other players up. And they switched through their matchup zone a little bit at times, which gave us some issues. They’re just a really good defensive team, and they really shut us down today.”
Along with Hacking’s performance, sophomore Jacy Anderson scored six points and shot 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Junior guard Elle Infalvi scored five points and made both of her two free throws.
With the Warriors playing good defense, they forced turnovers and were able to set their offense. West Branch was led by seniors Carly Scarpitti and Peyton Alazaus.
As the offense’s floor general, Scarpitti made sure to get her teammates in the right spots to thrive. Scarpitti also capitalized on scoring opportunities, pouring in a team-high 16 points. Alazaus made five 3-pointers and scored 15 points.
Though the season is over, Infalvi reminded his team of their accomplishments.
“I told our girls in there that I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished this year,” Infalvi said. “We won back-to-back district titles. We won our conference for the fourth year in a row. I’m really proud of everything we did, and our season isn’t defined on how we played tonight. It’s over the body of work we did, and we did some really good things.”
West Branch will play Laurel in the regional final Friday at Barberton High School. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.