Thursday, March 4, 2021

Perry Central High School Boys Hoops:
Perry’s Michael John Grover, Hoops Star, reaches 1,000-point plateau 
in record setting senior year season

Even with a condensed and somewhat odd 2021 Section V high school basketball season, there certainly has been plenty of milestones and excitement to speak of across the local region. It seems as though almost on a nightly basis, either a player is reaching the 1,000-point mark for their career or a longtime head coach is setting the bar even higher with a monumental win. 

For Perry, one of the proudest and one of the most history-rich boys basketball programs in the Livingston Conference, the Yellowjackets didn’t want to get left out of the headlines, even during a rebuilding season. Last Wednesday in a loss to Letchworth, Perry senior guard Michael John Grover joined some elite company within the boys basketball program. With his 12 points in the 13-point setback to the Indians, Grover joined the 1,000-point club for the Yellowjackets in what has been an otherwise tough season. 

 “He’s been fun to coach because he can score in so many different ways, he’s a guy that comes to practice and brings it,” Perry second-year head coach Anthony Macaluso said. “He helps make people better because of how intense he is during practice. For the Perry program he has been a great example for further players, he works hard not just during the season but in the offseason as well by going to camps playing in tournaments,” Macaluso added. “He has shown what it takes to be successful.” 

This season the Yellowjackets have had to deal with a plethora of losses to graduation, including five seniors who had a combined 14 years of varsity experience for a team that is, year in and year out, in the mix for a Section V title. Add in the loss of underclassman Mitch Hockey, who moved into the Le Roy district, and Grover could have been seen as being left on his own. Yet instead of sulking, he has taken the program on his shoulders in what has been an up-and-down winter season. 

“Last year we had a team where we had five guys on the floor that could have a big night scoring at any given time it was nice to see MJ grow in that aspect of his game where he could be part of a working offense and be effective in the game other than scoring,” Macaluso said. “This year he is only one of two players who have any varsity experience on the team and he has been good in helping to groom some of these young guys and show them the ropes.” 

Last season as a junior, Grover earned a Daily News Fab-5 honorable mention selection when he averaged 16 points per game to go with seven rebounds per night and he definitely is on pace to up those numbers in his final season with the Yellowjackets. 

 Aside from reaching the milestone scoring mark, Grover also dropped a career-high 36 points in a win earlier this season over Warsaw, while he has been well in double-figures each and every night, despite being the opposition’s main defensive target. And for Grover, the number 1,000 certainly had some meaning to it. 

 “Achieving this milestone is definitely something big he wanted to check off his list,” Macaluso said. “Like I said, he works hard on his skills on year long and take pride in his ability to score.” In his fourth varsity campaign for Perry, Grover has been a part of a number of teams that have made impressive sectional runs. 

Last season, he helped lead the Yellowjackets to the Class C2 title game in Macaluso’s first season at the helm before they dropped a heartbreaker to Lyons in the championship game at the Blue Cross Arena. Last season he led Perry with 16 points and seven rebounds per game for the Yellowjackets team that advanced to the Section V Class C2 championship game. 

Grover paced Perry with 17 points in the game, while he was also a key cog for a team that rebounded from a tough start to the season — including a three-game losing streak — to eventually win 12 games in a row before falling to the Lions. Perry finished at 17-6 last season and went a combined 52-17 over Grover’s first three seasons at the varsity level, with two trips to the Section V title game. 

This season he has consistently been the opposition's top target and according to Macaluso, the 6-foot, 2-inch versatile guard has handled it just as he had expected he would. “It has been a new challenge for him that I believe he had been looking forward to taking on,” Macaluso said. “It seems every game we see something a little different to defend him whether it’s a box and one, collapsing on him when he gets in the paint, or even being double teamed it has been a new experience for him for sure.” 

Grover is looking to continue playing basketball at the collegiate level after he graduates from Perry, possibly at Division II Daemen College.                                                                Courtesy of Daily News Online
Great Article by NATE RIDER

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