Perkins Pirates' seniors leave their legacy

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Perkins’ head coach Scott McVeigh, kneeling, talks with Nic Williams, left, Brandon Smith, center, and Chase Green after taking them out of the game late in the fourth quarter on Thursday.

BOWLING GREEN — Perkins standout Brandon Smith had difficulty explaining the emotions he felt after the senior’s last game as a Pirate, a 53-34 loss to Bishop Watterson in the OHSAA Division II Regional Semifinals.

Thursday’s defeat was indeed an abrupt end to a four-year stretch in which Smith helped the Perkins’ boys basketball program reach heights it had yet to see.

“It was fun, but fast,” said Smith, who put up a game-high 18 points against the Eagles.

Smith was a crucial element of a Pirates’ squad that reached the regionals for the first time in school history last year, and along with junior Nic Williams, guided them back to the regionals this season.

“Last year and going into this year, one of the things we had was great chemistry,” Perkins coach Scott McVeigh said. “We have kids that are unselfish; we have kids who play for each. We don’t have a selfish bone on this team and I think that goes along way, especially when you’re talking about tournament basketball. You throw in a lot of talent, you throw in a lot of heart and I think that’s why we’ve been so successful these past two years, especially.”

While the results of their hard work manifested itself most tangibly the past two seasons, Perkins historic rise truly began during Smith’s freshman year when, on three occasions, the Pirates gave state semifinalist Port Clinton all they could handle. Then during his sophomore season, he aided a young Perkins team in taking Shelby to overtime in Districts.

“He’s become on of the best all around players, if not the best all around player I’ve ever coached in all facets of the game,” McVeigh said. “He sees the floor well, shoots the ball well and he leads us in deflections this year. Defensively, especially tournament-wise, think Brandon has done a great job.”

Smith, the Pirates’ second-leading scorer this season behind Williams, took things to a new level in a 50-47 win over Toledo Scott in this year’s district final. The combo guard shook off a sluggish seven-point first half to ring up a contest-best 21 points to send Perkins to the regionals.

While his teammates came out cold against Bishop Watterson, Smith compensated by scoring the Pirate’s first 11 points, including all nine of their first quarter points.

With Perkins down nine to begin the second half, Smith struck first again for his squad, rolling off a pick toward the hoop before receiving the pass and sinking a fadeaway jumper from the baseline.

After an Eagles’ bucket and timeout, he cut the lead to 26-20 with a 3-pointer from the wing near the six-minute mark of the quarter.

Back-to-back 3s created breathing room for Bishop Watterson who eventually routed the Pirates. Nevertheless, junior Andy Greaser, who finished second on the ceremonial road team with 12 points, was even willing to give credit to Smith for his impressive performance.

“He’s really good,” Greaser said amid a head shake. “He’s lengthy so he could get by me but if I stepped back he could shoot it, so he was tough.”

McVeigh said after the game that while Smith was finding the open man, his teammates simply were unable to match his aggressiveness and shooting prowess when necessary. This was made evident by the fact that while Smith shot 50 percent (7 of 14), the rest of Perkins team shot 25 percent (5 of 20) from the floor.

Smith ends his high school career second on the Pirates all-time scoring list, though he likely would have smashed the record had he not missed a portion of last hoops season after breaking his femur while playing for the Pirates football team.

“Brandon will be the first one to give credit to his teammates and shy away from individual accomplishments,” McVeigh said. “It’s been an honor for four years for me. A lot of times coaches talk about it’s hard to coach a kid for four years. I wish I had more time with him because he’s a great basketball player, but a great person.”

Last Updated: 3/14/2013 11:07:59 PM EST

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