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Buzzer beater denies Perham a trip to state finals (VIDEO)

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sports Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

MINNEAPOLIS- The quest toward a second state title in two years for the Perham Yellow Jackets boys basketball team ended Friday as they fell to the Litchfield Dragons, 33-31, in a game that was an aggressive defensive battle from the beginning and ended with a game-winning shot at the buzzer by Litchfield's Zach Kinny.

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"Two great teams played each other tonight," said Perham's head coach Dave Cresap. "There just wasn't enough left for us."

For the second straight game in the tournament, Perham struggled offensively as the Dragons capitalized by converting 15 points off turnovers.

Perham held the lead for the majority of the first half, at one point leading by six, thanks to Mark Schumacher and Jordan Bruhn's combined 13 points.

The Yellow Jackets dominated down low, scoring 14 of their 20 first half points in the paint.

But with 8:34 left in the half, and down 18-13, the Dragons defense took over as Perham turned the ball over five times the rest of the half.

Litchfield held the Yellowjackets to just two more points, taking the lead 21-20 at 3:43 on a Zach Whitchurch layup.

Going into half-time, the Yellow Jackets knew a cleaner second half could very well lead to a victory. Unfortunately, the Dragons defense was just too much as Litchfield held Perham to just 11 points.

"They were ready for us in the second half," Cresap said. "They're very well coached."

Bruhn gave the Yellowjackets the lead early off an offensive rebound but Litchfield answered right back on a Jordan Cresap turnover and subsequent foul by Bruhn.

A minute later, Cresap made up for the turnover by nailing a three, retaking the lead 25-23 at 15:23. The Yellow Jackets held the lead for seven more minutes until Litchfield's Dylan Koll tied the game at 31-31 on a huge three pointer with 7:35 left to play.

At that point, the Dragons defense sealed the deal and held the Yellowjackets scoreless the rest of the game.

Perham missed their next two shots and called a 30-second timeout with just over 2:00 to play after a missed jumper by Kinny.

After the timeout, the Dragons Mitch Wollin blocked the biggest shot of his high school career on a jumper by Perham's Mike Wiskow... or the biggest foul he would ever get away with if you ask Perham fans.

Wollin recovered the ball with just over a minute left to play in regulation and the score still tied.

Litchfield held out for one last shot and with .3 left on the clock, Kinny sealed the deal and a state finals appearance for Litchfield with a buzzer beater over Schumacher.

The Dragons stormed the floor in celebration as the Yellowjackets walked off the floor, stunned at what had just transpired.

Kinny's last minute shot was ultimately the play of the game, but his 10 rebounds did not hurt the Dragon's cause either.

It was a close win but either team could have pulled off a victory.

The Yellowjackets held the Dragons to 29 percent shooting in the second half, but their inability to get to the foul line after they reached the bonus with 4:37 tells the story of the Dragons masterful defense.

"This team has a lot of heart," Cresap said. "We have no reason to hang our heads. This whole community is pound of these kids."

Perham will face Braham, who was upset by Plainview-Elgin-Millville (P-E-M), at Concordia University for third place Saturday at noon. Litchfield will vie for the state championship against P-E-M, 2 p.m. Saturday at Target Center.

Perham vs Litchfield

3/23/12 6:00pm at Target Center

At Target Center

LITCHFIELD 33, PERHAM 31

PERHAM (28-3)

Bruhn, Jordan 4-9 0-3 8; Schumacher, Mark 3-8 1-1 7; Cresap, Jordan 3-5 0-0

7; Anderson, Jordan 3-7 0-0 7; Wiskow, Mike 1-3 0-0 2; Nordick, Josh 0-0 0-0

0. Totals 14-32 1-4 31.

LITCHFIELD (25-5)

Koll, Dylan 3-4 0-0 8; Kinny, Zach 3-9 2-2 8; Whitchurch, Zach 3-6 0-2 7;

Terning, Jon 2-7 0-0 4; Wollin, Mitch 2-6 0-0 4; Pater, Riley 1-2 0-0 2;

Larson, Tyler 0-1 0-0 0; Madsen, Joel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-36 2-4 33.

Perham........................ 20 11 - 31

Litchfield.................... 21 12 - 33

3-point goals--Perham 2-10 (Anderson, Jordan 1-3; Cresap, Jordan 1-1;

Schumacher, Mark 0-3; Bruhn, Jordan 0-3), Litchfield 3-9 (Koll, Dylan 2-3;

Whitchurch, Zach 1-3; Terning, Jon 0-1; Larson, Tyler 0-1; Kinny, Zach 0-1).

Fouled out--Perham-None, Litchfield-None. Rebounds--Perham 23 (Bruhn, Jordan

8), Litchfield 20 (Kinny, Zach 10). Assists--Perham 5 (Bruhn, Jordan 2),

Litchfield 6 (Kinny, Zach 4). Total fouls--Perham 8, Litchfield 10.

Technical fouls--Perham-None, Litchfield-None.

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