Toughness and defense: Griggsville-Perry gets back to basics in practice, then routs Payson Seymour


Griggsville-Perry's Michael Myers pulls down a rebound in front of Payson Seymour's Nolan Sparks during Friday night's high school boys basketball game in Payson. | David Adam

PAYSON, Ill. — The last two days of practice for the Griggsville-Perry boys basketball team were not much fun.

Tornadoes coach Garrett White thought his team needed a lesson on toughness after it suffered a 54-50 loss on Tuesday to South County, snapping an eight-game winning streak. It was only the fourth time this season Griggsville-Perry allowed 50 points.

“We went back to first-week stuff,” White said. “We had the plyo boxes out for box jumps. We had the stairs going. We had jump ropes, lane slides and six different stations going into the start of practice.

“There wasn’t much basketball at all. It was just toughness and defense. We’d better come to work because when we went to South County, their coach even said it in the newspaper that they just outworked us. The point of emphasis was, ‘Let’s not let that happen again.’”

Consider the message sent.

The Tornadoes limited Payson Seymour to 34-percent shooting (11 of 32) from the field in a surprisingly easy 60-32 victory on Friday night.

Michael Myers, who led Griggsville-Perry (23-5) with 19 points, thought the difficult practices were helpful.

“We didn’t have a good night against South County the other night,” he said. “Coach really made a statement of having hard practices. He made us practice hard and get us refocused on the game and had us playing a lot better.

“I wouldn’t say (the practices were) fun, but they definitely helped get us focused and get us ready to play.”

Meanwhile, not much went right for Payson Seymour (12-18), which had won five of its last seven games.

Blake Schwartz made a 3-pointer to give the Indians their only lead at 3-2. However, Griggsville-Perry answered with 12 straight points, and Schwartz was out of the game with two fouls in the first six minutes.

By the time Schwartz came back into the game, Payson Seymour had scored one basket in a four-minute stretch and trailed the Tornadoes 24-9. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Lane Lipcaman put the Tornadoes ahead 30-10 with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter.

“We failed to show up,” Indians coach Tyler Duschinsky said. “I’ll take the blame. I didn’t prepare them the way that we needed to be prepared. … Up until this game, I felt like we’ve played well lately. Even in the second half against Winchester (West Central in a 69-52 loss on Tuesday), I thought we played well. We got to be able to put four quarters together in the postseason, and if we don’t do that, we’ll be home very soon.”

Payson Seymour got within 30-17 on Lane Barker’s 3-pointer, but Myers answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Tornadoes lead 36-19 at halftime.

Barker scored the first basket of the second half, but Myers responded with two more 3-pointers to push the lead to 42-21. The Indians never got closer than 18 points again.

Griggsville made 10 of 17 3-point attempts during the game, while Payson Seymour only made two of 16 3-pointers.

“We tried going man, they hit some shots,” Duschinsky said. “We tried going zone, they hit some shots. Griggsville does a really good job of moving the basketball to find that open man.”

“Tonight was a really good shooting game for us,” Myers said.

White would rather talk about his team’s defense, which allows 34.7 points per game. Griggsville-Perry is one of eight teams in Illinois, according to Nesto Hoops, that allows less than 40 points per game. Only Chicago Uplift’s scoring defense (34.5 ppg) is better.

“We take a lot of pride in our defense,” White said.

Griggsville-Perry starts with a 2-2-1 full-court zone that drops into a 2-3 zone in the half-court.

“When we have our starters out there, we have Myers at 6-foot-3, Logan Fensic at 6-foot-5 and Dayne McAlister at 6-foot-4, and we have good length,” White said. “Then we have the twins (Lane and Wyatt Lipcaman) just getting after it at the top.”

Wyatt Neisen led the Indians with 12 points. Schwartz, who averages 17 points per game, didn’t make another basket after the one he made to start the game.

“(Schwartz’s) foul trouble really affects what you want to do, especially from a scoring perspective,” Duschinsky said. “It takes him out of the game as a team, and mentally for him, it’s tough to get locked in when you’re in foul trouble. He was a little frustrated with himself because he wasn’t making shots. From my coaching perspective, he has to shoot, and he can’t worry about making shots or missing shots.”

Top defensive teams in Illinois

TeamRecordPoints Per Game
Chicago Uplift10-334.5
Illini Bluffs24-336.2
Camp Point Central20-637.1
Caitlin South Fork16-937.9
Evanston Beacon Academy17-538.0
Skokie (Ida Crown)11-638.9
Chicago Horizon Science Southwest23-739.1
Statistics provided by Nesto Hoops; Records and statistics through games of Feb. 8

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