Gilbert Perry learned it can win a big rivalry game without its 31-points-a-game scorer Friday night.
With sophomore guard Markus Howard leading cheers from the bench, host Perry erased an early 9-0 deficit and beat Chandler Basha 51-46 in overtime before a capacity crowd in a battle of top-10 Division I boys basketball teams.
“We had to go through our defense and offense would work itself out,” said guard Kyle Van Haren, who gave Perry (13-2) its first lead, 41-39, with 3:43 left in regulation with a 3. “Each of us had to step up a little bit more just to fulfill his role.”
Howard, who made All-Arizona his freshman year, hasn’t played since suffering a concussion 10 days ago in a 73-63 loss to Basha in the final of the McClintock Shootout.
It is unknown whether Howard will be back for Tuesday’s game at second-ranked Phoenix Desert Vista.
But it was good for Perry to know it could close out a game without Howard, the Arizona State commit.
“Do I look a little bit older?” Perry coach Joe Babinski asked.
Babinski was fired up late in the game when his team made its move, battling a bigger Basha team on the boards.
Early, 6-foot-9 junior Klay Stall was getting his way, scoring in the paint on put-backs and short jumpers.
Perry put a 6-2 guard on Stall in the second half, and it seemed to frustrate the big guy. Stall had four points in the final quarter, all coming in the final 1:23. But his two free throws with 47 seconds left tied it at 45.
Perry missed an awkward shot with a second left and the game went into overtime, where Stall went scoreless and Brandon Bidese scored inside and John Schlangan knocked down four free throws.
Basha (12-5) missed all five of its field-goal attempts in OT.
“You take Markus out of the picture, and now they have to do it in front of the big crowd,” Babinski said. “It ended up being good for us.”