Luck has been on the side of the Perry Hall boys team during the past couple of postseasons. All bad.
In the 1993 state 4A regional first round, the Gators lost to a Poly team sandwich that they defeated during the regular season. Last year, Perry Hall was routed by Lake Clifton at home by 29 points.
And then there was yesterday's 89-51 loss to No. 13 Southwestern in a state 4A North Region first-round contest. As the final score indicates, it wasn't much of a contest.
"We were just overmatched," said Perry Hall coach Phil Walters. "We haven't played to our potential all season long. It got tough today. It was a combination of our level of competition and preparedness."
Although Southwestern was seeded fourth and Perry Hall fifth, the difference was much more obvious as the host Sabers simply overpowered Perry Hall with their size and quickness.
Aaron Jolly and Bobby Levett each scored 14 points to lead Southwestern (14-8), which will visit top-ranked and top-seeded Lake Clifton in a regional semifinal game tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Chris Shields led Perry Hall (13-8) with 15 points and Chris Kelly added 14.
The Gators stayed within reach of Southwestern for much of the first half, leading by three in the early stages and trailing by six midway in the second quarter.
At halftime, Southwestern was leading, 34-21, which had Walters pleased. But with 17 turnovers in the first 16 minutes, the worst was yet to come.
It came within the first three minutes of the second half as the Sabers outscored Perry Hall, 13-2, for a 47-23 margin. After three quarters, Southwestern was in front, 64-28, after a 30-7 quarter surge.
"We knew coming in that city teams are usually stronger than county teams," said Kelly. "We were hoping that we could slow the ball down and maybe hit a couple of key jump shots and play solid defense, but they were too strong on their press."
Every player scored for Southwestern, which received 45 points from its non-starters. The last time the Sabers' bench received substantial time, it was against Lake Clifton in an 82-69 loss, two weeks ago today.
Though the Sabers non-starters played well and Southwestern cruised, there will be a major difference in opponents tomorrow.
"I wasn't particularly pleased with how we started or the way we celebrated toward the end," said Southwestern coach Terry Leverette. "This is not anything. One game doesn't mean anything; we have to get focused for the big game against Lake."