Perryville has had its share of strong girls basketball teams over the years, but those teams always stumbled when facing Notre Dame.
Whether it was regular season or district play, the Bulldogs have had Perryville's number.
What looked like another routine Notre Dame win over the Pirates on Thursday night at Notre Dame Regional High School turned into a spirited comeback for the Pirates, who roared back for a 69-68 win.
"It's been a long, long time," Perryville coach Vicki Lohmann said. "We gave them a good run last year."
Added Notre Dame coach Jerry Grim: "This is the first time in 10 years they've beaten us, but they deserve it."
From an 8-0 run to start the game to a 12-point halftime lead, Notre Dame led throughout the game. Every time the Bulldogs (2-3) were about to put the game out of reach, Perryville (3-0) reeled them back in.
"We never put them away," he said.
A lay-in by Miranda Schlosser pushed Notre Dame's lead to 62-51 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Pirates simply would not go away. Annette Weibrecht scored seven straight points for the Pirates, cutting the lead to 64-58.
After Kristain Burger's basket with about two minutes remaining pushed Notre Dame's lead to six, 68-62, Perryville forced consecutive turnovers on Notre Dame's next two possessions. Two points apiece from Weibrecht and Amber Hacker to cut the lead to 68-66 with less than a minute remaining.
Grim said turnovers were only a part of Notre Dame's problem down the stretch.
"That had a lot to do with it. Our defense was nonexistent in the half court," he said.
After getting the ball back with about 40 seconds remaining, Perryville's Krista Miesner missed a 3-pointer for the lead, but the ball found its way back into Miesner's hands. Her second attempt gave Perryville its first lead of the game at 69-68 with about 10 seconds remaining.
"Man, I'm just glad the shot went down," Lohmann said.
Notre Dame had two more shots for the win, but could not convert.
Meredith Medlin led Notre Dame with 16 points, but scored only four after halftime. Burger added 14 points for the Bulldogs.
"We missed a lot of easy shots," Grim said. "They went to the boards hard. They really blocked off the boards well."
Despite the Bulldogs' size advantage -- Notre Dame has three players 5 feet 11 inches or taller -- Perryville was able to get many second chances.
Lohmann said she was pleased Bethany Steffens, Perryville's tallest player at 5-10, did well on the boards.
"I thought Bethany Steffens pulled down some big-time rebounds for us," she said.
Miesner led Perryville with 22 points. Hacker finished with 19 points, and Weibrecht had 17 points. Miesner, Weibrecht and Hacker scored all 22 Perryville points in the fourth quarter, and scored 38 of the team's 43 points in the second half.
"My junior class is so competitive," said Lohmann, whose team features seven juniors on an eight-person roster. "Hacker is tough as nails."
This was the second late loss for the Bulldogs, who suffered a heartbreaker against Farmington in the Farmington Tournament.
"I hope it's an eye-opener for them," Grim said. "It shows us areas where we need to work on. That's what we need to do."
With a possible meeting between the two teams in next week's HealthSouth Holiday Classic or possibly in the district tournament, Lohmann said she knows Notre Dame will be ready for them the next time they meet.
"Jerry's such a good coach, it will not be easy if we face them again," she said.
Perryville 69, Notre Dame 68
PERRYVILLE (69) -- Krista Miesner 22, Amber Hacker 19, Annette Weibrecht 17, Bethany Steffens 8, Meghan Roth 3. FG 25, FT 15-17, F 14 (3-pointers: Miesner 2, Hacker 1, Weibrecht 1. Fouled out: none)
NOTRE DAME (68) -- Merideth Medlin 16, Kristain Burger 14, Amber Karnes 10, Miranda Schlosser 10, Amanda Essner 6, Amanda Toole 7, Rachael Weidenbenner 2, Allison Toole 3. FG 27, FT 11-15, F 18 (3-pointers: Amanda Toole 1, Medlin 2. Fouled out: Karnes)