Friday night fracas - Part Two: Pelican vs. Perham preview
PERHAM - The Prairie Wind Middle School gymnasium will be buzzing tonight when No. 6 Pelican Rapids goes for the regular season sweep against the surging Perham Yellowjackets boys basketball team.
Both teams are 5-1 in the Heart O' Lakes conference, one-half game behind idle Hawley (6-1).
The Vikings bounced back after losing the No. 1 ranking at Hawley January 21. The Nuggets moved up to No. 4 in Class 2A after routing Pelican Rapids 79-51.
Hawley is 14-1 overall. Their only blemish was a double overtime loss at Perham January 8 by a score of 69-67.
The winners of tonight's match-up will control their own destiny on a quest for the conference title.
The HOL has been shared by Pelican Rapids and Perham the past two seasons and each year both teams had only one loss. Both of those losses came from each team holding court at home against each other.
Hawley shared the title with Breckenridge in 2009-10.
The 2012-13 HOL title will likely be decided the second week of February when Hawley hosts Perham Feb. 8 and travels to Pelican Rapids Feb. 12.
Perham has won six straight games since a double overtime loss to Worthington in the Worthington holiday tournament finals December 28.
Aside from the victory over Hawley, each win has been by at least 12 points, including Tuesday's 71-59 win over an athletic Battle Lake team on the road.
Pelican Rapids head coach Doug Bruggeman has been adamant in shrugging off the state rankings stating, "We have told the boys from day one that we are getting recognized for our past accomplishments as a program and the fact that the Section is up for grabs," according to report by CraigOlsonSports.com.
The results of the first round of match-ups between all three teams prove Bruggeman's statement. Not only is the section title up for grabs; each of the teams has proven that any game can go either way and the result can be multiple overtimes or a second half cruise.
With Pelican Rapids and Hawley garnering the attention of state pollsters the Yellowjackets have flown under the radar and can make a big statement with a win tonight which will put them atop the HOL at 6-1 with victories over both the ranked Vikings and Nuggets.
Home court has been beneficial to all three teams. Hawley defeated Pelican at home. Pelican defeated Perham at home and Perham beat Hawley at PWMS.
Perham is 5-1 at home and has not lost at PWMS since the season opener against Minnehaha Academy.
Pelican Rapids is 7-3 on the road and have only played four games at home, including a 53-40 victory over Perham in early December.
Pelican Rapids has not defeated the Yellowjackets in Perham since Feb. 27, 2009, the season the Vikings went 33-0 en route to the state championship.
The Vikings held Perham scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half in the December match-up in Pelican Rapids and built on their 17-12 advantage at the break with a 12-0 run to go up 29-12 with 12 minutes to go.
Ryan Bruggeman led Pelican Rapids with 13 points. Devin Schell scored 12. Tucker Forsgren had 10.
Eli Beachy was the only Jacket in double figures scoring 10 points.
As Forsgren and Bruggeman go so do the Vikings, whereas Perham has seen a number of players step up to lead in scoring in games this season.
Tyler Glines topped 20 points in Tuesday's win at Battle Lake. Beachy, Hunter Salathe, and Jordan Hein have also topped the score sheet this season.
Pelican Rapids should have an advantage in the paint and Perham will have opportunities to sink the Vikings from outside.
Glines, Beachy Josh Nordick and Jake Anderson can light it up from behind the arc and make a significant impact on style of play tonight should they get open looks.
These games tend to revolve around defense and halftime adjustments.
Baskets are not easy to come by between the two teams. The 40 points scored by Perham in the loss to the Vikings is a season-low.
The 53 points scored by Pelican in the victory over Perham was the second-lowest total of the season. Hawley held the Vikings to 51 points.
Either way there's no telling what to expect aside from an intense, loud and crazy fracas on Friday night in Perham.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Prairie Wind Middle School in Perham.