Jackets on long road to defend state title
The Perham basketball team will have their communal heads on a swivel watching for shots to the back as they drag around the target of defending state champions through a section they are not even favored to win.
Arch rival Pelican Rapids, the only team to defeat last year's 31-1 ball club hold the #1 state ranking, while Perham sits right beneath at #2.
The two clubs meet early in the season in Perham Friday, Dec. 16. The game coincides with the annual visit of Crunch, the Minnesota Timberwolves mascot in what should be an early must-see basketball game. Barring any unforeseen losses for either team, it will be a battle for the top state AA ranking, as well as local bragging rights.
It took overtime for the Vikings (23-5) to defeat the Jackets last season, during an almost impossible week of scheduling for Perham.
The two teams will meet at Pelican Rapids Friday, Jan. 27 for the completion of the home and home series. According to the polls, the section champion should run through either of the two towns.
Pequot Lakes, who lost to Perham in the section semi-finals will put a fight in for the title, along with Crosby-Ironton and Hawley, both programs accustomed to success.
Perham lost two seniors to graduation, Desmine Duffy and Nick Tobkin, along with Sam Stratton, a junior who transferred. Stratton played big minutes in the playoffs and Tobkin took the reigns and led the team through the final games of the season.
Perham's quest this year will need a new leader and in their first game Jordan Bruhn stepped up. This team has enough talent to rotate leaders every game and should prove as formidable to opponents as last year's club.
The Class 2A State Coach of the Year, Dave Cresap, will return with the entire coaching staff from last season: Assistants Brain Schwantz, Brent Hanson, Tim Schmitz, Ryan Reuter and Craig Dahms.