VERMILION — It couldn’t have been easy for Vermilion to take the floor Saturday night.
Two days away from school due to weather, a canceled game Thursday and the passing of Cliff German’s son Mike all made it tough to prepare for the non-conference game against Perkins.
Cliff German is Vermilion’s popular public address announcer and his grandson, Layne, a nephew to Mike German, is on the junior varsity.
“Mr. German’s like a father to all of us,” Vermilion’s Zach Kovach said. “We all look up to him. He’s always at our games. It’s sad.”
The Sailors did just enough to get past the pesky Pirates 50-38 in a Sandusky Bay Conference crossover game.
“Give Perkins and (coach Scott McVeigh) credit,” Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl said. “They’re a gritty team. They play tough basketball. I thought, most of the night, we just weren’t there mentally.”
The Sailors (16-2) had the Pirates (10-8) on the ropes all night but could never quite land the knockout blow. Vermilion led 14-4 with 1:55 to play in the first quarter and 21-8 three minutes into the second only to have Perkins battle back. At one point in the third quarter, Vermilion led 40-23, but the Pirates trailed just 43-35 with 6:33 to play in the game.
Two things Vermilion could count on Saturday were the inside play and rebounding of Kovach, a 6-foot-5 junior, and 6-5 senior Luke Pena.
“We try to look inside a lot,” Kovach said. “When we play smaller teams, I can dominate in the post. They try to get me the ball and I do my thing.”
Kovach scored 12 points and pulled in six rebounds. Pena had six points and eight boards.
It didn’t help that Vermilion’s usual top scorers — Mason Montgomery and Jonah Pfeil — struggled offensively, combining for just 14 points. Reese Miller, who’s had some big games of late, led the way again with 15 points.
“Luckily, Zach Kovach played a great game and Luke Pena played a great game,” Habermehl said. “And Reese Miller really showed up and played well too.”
Vermilion 50, Perkins 38
PERKINS (38): Sam Siegel 2-2-7, Drew McVeigh 1-2-5, Isaac Grude 2-2-7, Joe Printy 2-0-4, Zach Voight 4-0-12, Michael Wade 0-0-0, Spencer Klein 1-1-3, Jason Majoy 0-0-0. Totals 12-7-38.
VERMILION (50): Jonah Pfeil 2-0-6, Seth Hurd 1-0-3, Mason Montgomery 3-2-8, Luke Pena 3-0-6, Reese Miller 6-0-15, Zach Kovach 5-2-12, Sterling Benko 0-0-0, Ryan Habermehl 0-0-0. Totals 20-2-50.
Perkins 6 9 13 10 — 38
Vermilion 14 12 17 7 — 50
Three-point goals: Perkins 7-22 (Voight 4, Siegel, McVeigh, Grude), Vermilion 8-24 (Miller 3, Montgomery 2, Pfeil 2, Hurd). Field goals: Perkins 12-42 (28 percent), Vermilion 20-50
(40 percent). Free throws: Perkins 7-8 (87 percent), Vermilion 2-5 (40 percent). Rebounds: Perkins 15 (Siegel, Printy 3), Vermilion 31 (Pena 8). Assists: Perkins 9 (Siegel 3), Vermilion 17 (Pfiel 6). Turnovers: Perkins 10, Vermilion 12. Fouls: Perkins 9, Vermilion 10.
Junior varsity: Perkins, 31-22