SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Robin Perry may not be the first option for Oak Ridge (Orlando), but on Saturday, he was the best one.
Perry, a senior guard with no offers, had 27 points, all but four of them in the second half, to lead the No. 23 Pioneers (15-3) to an 80-69 defeat of Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic.
“Robin has been great for us all year,” Oak Ridge coach Steven Reece said. “He’s averaging 19 points for us, he’s rebounding and a great team player. I’m watching college basketball and I’m seeing guys who can’t make layups, so I don’t know what he has to do to get an offer. I just tell him he has to play hard and everything will fall into place.”
Emmitt Williams is normally the show for Oak Ridge and he didn’t disappoint, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a few thunderous dunks and even butted his way into Roselle Catholic’s huddle at one point.
“I like to be that guy who brings everything to the team, so if I can hear them saying, they’re going 2-3, I can tell everyone else that,” Williams said.
Oak Ridge led only 29-27 at the half but Perry helped the Pioneers open up a 54-39 lead with a flurry of points that included two three-pointers. He said all the attention Williams gets allows him to sometimes go unnoticed.
“Because he’s such a top player, people are not going to notice me and it allows me to do what I’ve been doing,” Perry said. “I’m going to play my game.”
Nazreon Reid, who led Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) with 16 points and 12 rebounds, said the Lions had to adjust to Perry’s outside shooting touch.
“Some of those shots were almost from half court,” Reid said. “He’s an excellent shooter.”
The Lions fall to 8-2, with their only other loss also to another Super 25 team in No. 18 Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia).
Reid, an LSU signee, has played alongside or against Williams since the two were in the seventh grade. He said he wouldn’t mind playing with the Oak Ridge forward in Baton Rouge.
“Hopefully, we have a chance to play together at the college level,” Reid said. “Playing against each other today was definitely fun, with him being able to showcase his game and me the same, but unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top.”
Oak Ridge led 29-27 at the half after jumping out to an eight-point lead in the first quarter. Williams led the Pioneers with 10 points and seven rebounds. That included a couple of monster slams, the most impressive of which came off a sweet pass from point guard Marcus Taylor.
The Lions, who were led by Reid and Ithiel Horton with 10 points each before the break, shot only 33% in the first half but stayed close by out-rebounding Oak Ridge 19-14.