Greendale - No Jordan Perez, no problem.
The Greendale boys basketball team played without its leading scorer for large portions of Friday's game against Wauwatosa West due to foul trouble, but the Panthers still managed to roll to a 71-49 victory.
Perez, who came into the game averaging 23.2 points, played the first four minutes before picking up his second foul. He was removed from the contest and sat out the remainder of the first half.
In his absence, Greendale bounced back from a 14-9 deficit to take a 23-22 halftime advantage, thanks largely to nine points from David Pulizos.
Perez returned at the start of the third quarter and scored six quick points to lift the Panthers to a 34-25 lead, then got his third foul with five minutes remaining and was on the bench for the rest of the period.
Once again, he was in the lineup as the fourth period began and scored seven points to help make it 54-30, then was lifted from the game for good.
Greendale head coach Ryan Johnsen had no problem with lifting his top scorer for the long stretches of time.
"I don't know if it was a gamble," Johnsen said. "We have a lot of faith in our whole team. The kids executed well, and David Pulizos really stepped up in the first half and carried us. We had a lot of confidence being up one at the half without Jordan. We have faith in everybody, and everybody stepped up at the beginning."
Perez finished with 15 points in about 10 total minutes.
"Jordan was very efficient when he was in there," Johnsen said.
Pulizos, who was averaging 5.2 points, finished with a team-high 17 points.
"I just wanted to contribute to my team," Pulizos said. "Everyone stepped up, and that was a good team effort."
Josh Michaels contributed 14 points, including seven in the third period, when Greendale blew open the game with a 24-6 run.
In that quarter, the Panthers hit 9-of-15 from the field (60 percent) while holding Tosa West to 2-of-15 (13 percent). In the second half, Greendale shot 62 percent from the floor (18-of-29) en route to 48 points.
Although the offense really perked up in the second half, Johnsen was equally pleased with the Panthers' defense. They held Andre Carroll, who poured in 24 points when the teams met in December, to just eight points.
"Cameron Rowe was phenomenal on the defensive end, stopping Carroll, who's their leading scorer," the coach said. "Mitch Brees and Nick Dalton (did a good job) on Blake Harvey, who's a phenomenal shooter. Those guys deserve all the credit."
In that first meeting, Tosa West put up 90 points, but this time, the Trojans were held to just 37 by the time both benches emptied in the fourth.
"We took that personally," Pulizos said. "It was a personal effort to stop them this time."
The victory boosted Greendale to 5-6 in the Woodland Conference West Division and 6-9 overall. The Panthers travel to Whitnall at 7:30 p.m. Friday, then visit Slinger in a nonconference contest at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Johnsen is hoping his team can continue to play like it did against West.
"It was a great team effort from minute one all the way to minute 32," he said. "It's great to see the kids improving at the right time of the year."
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