The area's first big girls basketball game will take place tonight when Perkins visits Clyde in a Sandusky Bay Conference clash between the top two teams.
A year ago, Perkins finished the regular season 19-1 and a perfect 14-0 in the SBC, but played three close games with Clyde in the season and Division II sectional tournament.
"They are a very, very good team and we were fortunate enough to win three close games with them last year," Perkins coach Ray Neill said.
"They've been running up 70 or 60 per game, so we hope we're good enough to slow that train down a little bit and have a chance to win in the fourth quarter."
Perkins won the first meeting last year at home by a 46-34 margin. It was a tie game early in the fourth quarter, but Clyde was done in by an abysmal 2-of-27 shooting from behind the arc.
In the return trip at Clyde, both teams went to overtime with Perkins prevailing, 56-52. At the sectional tournament game, a stalling game plan by Clyde came up a 3-point basket short in the final seconds, 32-29.
While both rosters return numerous key players from a year ago, the Fliers have been bolstered in the early going by freshman Amanda Cahill (18.4 ppg).
"Amanda is a well-rounded player with great court awareness," Neill said. "That kind of player makes other people better. That's what she brings to them."
Cahill got a good look at Perkins during it's 53-35 win at St. Paul Tuesday in Norwalk.
"They're very talented. I think they've got great sized and obviously well coached -- Ray and his staff have always done a nice job -- they have really good perimeter athletes, and with Fraley and Ebert they have two of the area's premier players," Cahill said.
"They've got Daniel and Smith -- they're veteran guards. Even though they're only sophomores, they've been through some battles. (Perkins) has all the bases covered."
The Fliers have three players who average double figures each night out, and the leading scorer is just a freshman.
Amanda Cahill averages 18.4 points per game, with upperclassmen Spencer Robles and Kaylea Griffin adding 12.6 and 12.4 points per night. Rachael Smetzler is the team leader in assists at 6.0 per game, and Cahill adding 4.4 an outing.
Cahill (8.0 rebounds per game) and Griffin (7.8 rebounds per game) will likely draw matchups with sophomore Shannon Ebert and junior Jordan Fraley.
"We're starting two freshmen, and another who comes off the bench. I don't know how they're going to react, with it being a Friday night expect big crowd," John Cahill said. "It'll be interesting to see how they handle it."
While there are still 10 other SBC games after this one -- including a rematch between the two Jan. 29 at Perkins High School -- a win goes a long way to establish a cushion at the top of the league.
"We played against Bravard and Krewson and Caudill, and they've made progression from the old guard to new guard," Cahill said. "Our freshmen have never lost to them in middle school.
"We're probably not going to spend a lot of time on preparing (specifically for them). It's a big game in the league. We try to execute the stuff we do and worry about ourselves."
Although both teams are unbeaten and Perkins is coming off the three wins last season, Neill says his team is the underdog -- at least the first time around on the schedule.
"It's going to be a great high school environment between two teams that have high aspirations," he said. "It's not a do or die game, but we're on the road the first time, so we'll say we're the underdog in this one and see what we can do with that role."
However, both coaches are posturing entering the game as Cahill insists it is his team that is the underdog.
"I think it'd be a big confidence boost, for whoever wins," Cahill said. "For us it'd be a good win beause they beat us three times last year. It's a big win this early in the season.
"They have to be the favorite because they beat us three times last year."
(By Anthony Moujaes and Mark Hazelwood)