NEW CASTLE — Whatever strain of flu Katherine Perry has contracted, it wasn’t enough to slow down Shenandoah’s star junior.
There wasn’t much the Frankton defense could do, either.
After literally picking herself up off the floor from a night of being sick, Perry scored 23 of her game-high 31 points in the second half as the Class 2A sixth-ranked Raiders topped Frankton 60-49 in the opener of the second annual New Castle Girls Basketball Shootout on Saturday.
With her performance, Perry now stands on the brink of a milestone, needing just two points in Tuesday’s home game against Knightstown to reach the coveted 1,000-point accomplishment.
“She missed yesterday’s practice, but put on a Michael Jordan-type performance when he had the flu in Game 6,” Shenandoah coach Dameon Wyatt said. “I think she’s starting to show everyone how good she really is. This kid is not talked about enough. She secretly gets about 25 (points) a game. I think that’s what she’s averaging. ... Not a lot of talk about her, which is fine with us. We’ll just keep winning games with our little guard.”
Perry, who could barely stand in the hallway outside the team’s locker room after the game, smiled at the Jordan reference, but said she drew inspiration from a different NBA legend.
“I watched a Kobe Bryant video,” she said. “I haven’t eaten in two days, just drinking water and Pedialytes. I knew I needed to be there for (my teammates). I couldn’t miss it. That wouldn’t be good.”
Perry hit a pair of 3-point baskets in the first quarter and a runner in the lane in the second period, but was limited to just those eight points by the Frankton defense as the Eagles (5-4) took a 26-23 lead into halftime.
“I thought for the other three quarters, when we stuck to our script, we looked like a pretty good ball team,” Frankton coach Stephan Hamaker said. “But, once we got out of our script, we looked like a very average team, unfortunately. ... But (there was) a little too much standing in the third quarter.”
A layup by sophomore Mia Shields extended the Frankton lead to 28-23 to open the third quarter.
But that’s when Perry really started to go to work.
She trimmed the lead to two on a layup and converted a three-point play before senior Stormie Fitch buried a 3-point basket to give Shenandoah a 29-28 lead.
Moments later, Perry hit two more free throws for a 33-32 lead and, after junior Jenna Stewart scored inside, Perry knocked down another trey for the Raiders’ biggest lead to that point at 38-32.
After senior Grace Alexander, who led the Eagles with 12 points, scored on a jumper, Perry scored the last five points of the quarter on a baseline drive and another and-one conversion, and the Raiders (6-0) took a 43-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
Thanks to 11-of-14 free-throw shooting by the Raiders in the final stanza, the Eagles got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
For the game, Perry was 13-of-15 at the line, all in the second half.
Led by Stewart and junior Erikka Hill, who recorded 11 and 15 rebounds respectively, the Raiders controlled the glass to the tune of a 36-22 margin. Hill also scored 13 points and handed out six assists while Fitch chipped in nine points.
Sophomore Lauryn Bates led the Eagles with eight rebounds and four steals.
Perry looks forward to the 1,000-point milestone Tuesday — the day after her birthday — and all that goes with it, but she is focused on other matters.
“It’s cool because you get a basketball and the hype,” she said. “But I just want to win.”