Cora Wyers’ basket gave the Riders a 41-38 lead with two minutes to play, but Western went scoreless the rest of the way as the Pirates turned up the pressure.
Nancy Siegel’s steal and layup with 20 seconds to play gave Perkins a 42-41 lead. Western turned it over on the inbounds pass, and two Olivia Howard free throws with six seconds left sealed the win.
“That’s why we have teams like that on our schedule,” Western coach Brenda Friend said. “We don’t often get to see physicalness like that. I’m still trying to get to know the kids in that situation. I’m taking that loss on me, even though we missed some important rebounds and it felt like we turned it over 15 times in the fourth quarter after playing a relatively clean game.
“You can say it’s because they press, but it’s because they turned up their physicalness because they didn’t have anything to lose, and it worked in their favor,” she added.
Western had 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter and 23 in the game. The Riders won the rebounding battle, with sophomore Emma Blankenship grabbing 10.
The ‘Riders took only five free throws in the physical game, making three.
Howard and Aleena Winston led Perkins (1-1) with 13 points each. Siegel scored 10, including the two biggest points of the game.
Wyers and Emma Weber each had 10 points for Western, which fell to 1-1.
Western trailed 19-12 after the first quarter, committing eight turnovers. But the Riders took a 22-21 lead into halftime and outscored the Pirates 13-10 in the third quarter.
Avery Tubbs’ 3-pointer from the top of the key at the end of the third gave Western a 35-31 edge. Wyers' last bucket gave them a late three-point lead, but it didn’t hold up.
“That’s a very good team right there,” Friend said of Perkins. “They have almost everybody back from going to a regional final last year. I have two starters on the floor, so that was their first time being in a tournament atmosphere.
“They got the momentum and we couldn’t get it back,” she added.
WESTERN RESERVE (1-1)
Katie Hipp 1-0—3, Jenna Skrada 1-3—3, McKenna Woodruff 3-0—6, Emma Blankenship 1-0—2, Cora Wyers 3-4—10, Emma Weber 5-0—10, Avery Tubbs 3-0—7. TOTALS 17-3—41.
Olivia Howard 5-2—13, Nancy Siegel 4-0—10, Tahtyanna Tucker 1-0—2, Aleena Winston 6-1—13, Jordyn Martin 1-0—3, Avery Bing 1 0-0 3. TOTALS 18-3—44
W. Reserve 12 10 13 6 — 41
Perkins 19 2 10 13 — 44
3-pointers — (WR): Hipp, Tubbs; (P) Siegel 2, Howard, Martin, Bing.
JV — WR won, 44-40.