Prairie Ridge's boys basketball team kept hitting shots, and then a Wolves player hit the court.
Starting guard Matt Perhats rolled his right ankle during the second quarter of Prairie Ridge's 64-42 nonconference win over visiting Grant in Crystal Lake on Saturday night. Perhats came down awkwardly as Grant was finishing off a nifty three-way passing play among Mikel Graves (steal), Ryan Noda (no-look assist) and Joe Sadauskas (fastbreak layup).
Grant's execution on the play was so good that not even defensive-stopper Perhats could thwart it. Perhats could be sidelined a couple of weeks depending on the results of an X-ray.
"He's like oil in an engine," Wolves coach Corky Card said of the trusty senior. "We run better with him."
It's been a tough run for Grant lately.
The Bulldogs (7-6) lost to Richmond-Burton in the championship game of Marengo's E.C. Nichols Tournament three days after Christmas and have started off the New Year with back-to-back losses on the road, giving them their first three-game losing streak of the season.
"Our guys played better tonight than we did last night," said Grant coach Wayne Bosworth, whose team dropped a 20-point decision to Barrington 24 hours earlier. "I was proud of the way they were able to bounce back from last night after having a very tough game. Our guys did a heck of a job on defense the first half. It's a good Prairie Ridge team."
The Wolves (8-6) shot 60 percent (27 of 45) from the floor, as they were consistently able to get to the basket against a Bulldogs squad whose tallest starter, the 6-foot-4 Noda, is a guard. The Wolves' movement on offense often had their opponent scrambling.
Prairie Ridge guard Michael Bradshaw scored a game-high 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting and grabbed 8 rebounds. Steven Ticknor (14 points) and Ryan Gilbert (10) also scored in double figures.
"They're a very good team in transition," Card said of the Bulldogs. "We did not want to get in a running game with them. We want to run, but we didn't want it to be a sloppy, ugly game. I think probably the best thing we did throughout the whole game was we were keeping pressure on them and not giving them any open looks and a lot of transition baskets."
Grant, meanwhile, shot only 27 percent (14 of 51) from the field and had few second-chance opportunities.
Grant experienced a similar fate against Barrington. The Bulldogs didn't have a single player score in double figures against Prairie Ridge, which limited the visitors to 17 points in the first half, although the Wolves' lead was just four.
"We're not making shots," said Noda, who had 9 points, including a 3-pointer, and 6 rebounds. "We got to get the ball in the bucket. You can't win without that. We were playing hard 'D,' but they were making shots."
Noda's dish to Sadauskas, after Graves' steal at half-court started the play, had Grant up 17-16 with 2:47 left before intermission. But despite Perhats limping to the bench after the stoppage in play, Prairie Ridge closed the half with a 5-0 run.
The Wolves then began the second half with a 10-0 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Bradshaw. Grant guard Mike Burns (8 points) hit a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer, but the Wolves still outscored the Bulldogs 20-11 in the third and took a 41-28 advantage into the fourth.
"You got to give Prairie Ridge a lot of credit," Bosworth said. "Their defense was phenomenal over 32 minutes. They took us out of what we did. We got some looks but couldn't knock (shots) down."