#2 Yellowjackets control tempo in 51-42 victory over #1 Pelican Rapids
Something had to give between the #1-2A Pelican Rapids Vikings averaging 82 points per game and the #2 Perham Yellowjackets allowing only 40 points per contest.
Perham (4-0) controlled the tempo and played Yellowjacket ball control en route to a 51-42 victory at home.
The up-tempo Vikings (3-1) found themselves in a defensive struggle playing a half-court game rather than running and gunning.
"That was one of our objectives," Perham Head Coach Dave Cresap said. "You've got to get after people and I thought we really defended shots well and made them earn everything they got."
A pair of Jordan Cresap free throws with 2:27 remaining in the game gave Perham its largest lead at 11 points, 44-33.
Forced to foul, the Vikings made Perham seal the game from the free throw line.
In a stretch of three separate attempts with under a minute remaining, Perham's Jordan Anderson, Josh Nordick and Mark Schumacher combined 2-6 shooting from the line allowing Pelican Rapids a chance to get back in the game.
Down 46-40, Viking Ryan Bruggeman was fouled on a three-point attempt by Jordan Hein and sunk the first two shots, but missed the third keeping it a two possession game.
Schumacher and Anderson, both seniors, stepped up in the waning seconds making five of six attempts to ice the game.
Anderson saw extensive duty handling the ball due to both the pressure of Pelican Rapids and foul trouble on Perham point guard Jordan Bruhn.
"They were tough defensively," Anderson said. "We just had to set up offensively."
Bruhn picked up his fourth foul with just under nine minutes to play. Vikings' guard Casey Bruggeman picked up his fourth foul in the same minute sending key players from both teams to the bench.
"Calls didn't go my way but I'm not going to sit here and bash the refs, because they're just out to do their job," Bruhn said.
Bruhn eventually fouled out with four minutes to go. He left with a team-high 10 points. Schumacher also scored 10. Jordan Cresap had nine points; Anderson scored eight.
"It feels good to get that win against them," said Anderson. "Nothing better than that, but this game means nothing. We've still got to play them one, maybe two more times. We've got a lot of work to do."
Vikings six-foot, seven-inch forward Luke Halbakken led all scorers with 17 points.
Halbakken, along with Ryan Huseby and Tucker Forsgren, both six-five, had a combined height advantage over Perham's only player over six-foot, two-inches, Schumacher.
Perham's tenacity on the boards as a team allowed the Yellowjackets to control the style of play to their advantage.
"We had to make sure we rebounded with them so we could do that," Coach Cresap said. "I'm just so happy with the effort. We didn't get every rebound but we sure went after it. We were outsized severely, our kids just kept battling and played hard-nosed defense."
The first half of the game was up and down the floor with Perham leading the majority of the time, never more than five points.
Pelican Rapids took a one-point lead into halftime, 22-21, after scoring five points in the final five seconds. Taylor Budke hit a three with five seconds remaining and Ryan Bruggeman stole the inbounds pass and scored on a layup as the buzzer sounded.
Bruggeman's score was only the third lead change of the half.
The hype generated by this match-up of the top two ranked schools in Class 2A started a line of fans outside the Perham Middle School at 4:15 p.m. The junior varsity game was standing room only. Perham also won that game 59-40.
"The whole week everyone in Perham and surrounding areas were hyping this up," Perham forward Mike Wiskow said. "It's just a game. It's not playoffs. If we lose, so what? We'll play them again. This game really means nothing."
That was not the case for the capacity crowd at Prairie Wind Middle School, which had the gymnasium jumping even for the junior varsity game.
"It was a great high school atmosphere," Coach Cresap said.
While the fans were sent to pandemonium, at times, on the court it was about who was in control.
"Coach just said we can only control ourselves," said Bruhn. "That's what we did tonight, controlled what we could do."
Note: 1,825 people were in attendance Friday night.
Pelican Rapids at Perham, Friday, December 16.
Jackets 21 30 -- 51
Vikings 22 20 -- 42
Scoring: (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) --PER: Schumacher 2-0-6-9-10; Bruhn 5-0-0-0-10; Cresap 1-1-4-4-9; Anderson 2-0-4-6-8; Hein 0-1-2-2-5; Cavanagh 2-0-0-2-4; Wiskow 0-0-4-8-4; Nordick 0-0-1-2-1. Team: 12-2-21-33-51.
PEL: Halbakken 8-0-1-4-17; C. Bruggeman 3-0-2-2-8; Forsgren 3-0-1-4-7; R. Bruggeman 1-0-2-3-4; Budke 0-1-0-0-3; Sorum 1-0-1-2-3. Team: 16-1-7-15-42.