Jackets rip Pirates, section final rematch at C-I Tuesday
PERHAM — Since the 2010-11 state basketball championship season, the No. 1-2A Perham Yellowjackets boys team has put up astonishing numbers of wins each season topping 20-plus victories each year.
The seniors from this year’s club were freshman on the title team and have never known a year without a section title and a trip to Target Center during March Madness.
Building on that success, this year’s club is led by a savvy starting five, four of whom are averaging in double figures, and have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 start after a 61-46 victory over Crookston Saturday.
Perham has defeated Staples-Motley, Breck and Wadena-Deer Creek.
Since 2010-11, head coach Dave Cresap’s teams have compiled a record of 87-12. Including 2009-10, Perham is 107-19.
Hunter Salathe, who led last year’s team in scoring, is averaging 16.8 ppg, having scored 67 points in four games.
Nick Bahls has proven to be dangerous from behind the arc scoring 56 points, averaging 14 ppg. Bahls is 13-24 from three-point range, 54.16 shooting percentage forcing defenses to be wary of a player who is making more than every other three-bomb.
Sam Muer is the third starting member of the front court averaging 10.5 ppg while leading the team in rebounds with 26. An interesting stat, Muer leads the team with 11 steals.
In the backcourt, Eli Beachy and Tyler Glines are a difficult duo to defend, while providing their own pressure in their own end.
Beachy’s ball handling makes defensive pressure sit back as he is difficult to stop with the ball. Glines has taken the point in the offensive end running the offense and allowing Beachy’s speed to get him free for open looks.
Beachy is third on the team averaging 11.2 ppg. Glines averages scoring 8.7. Each has proven capable of finding teammates as the pair lead the team with 17 assists each.
Glines numbers are even more impressive as he missed the Breck game and has put up his numbers in three games only.
Perham takes its undefeated record on the road for a rematch of last season’s section final with Crosby-Ironton and their talented big man, junior Daniel Hudrlik, Tuesday night.
Perham defeated C-I twice last year, both games by double digits.
Hudrlik was in double figures both games (19, 18pts), but was outgunned by the balanced attack of Perham and in the playoffs, fell victim to Coach Cresap’s ability to maximize the effort from his club when games matter most.
With a lot of preseason hype going to Hawley’s top duo of Jordan Harms and Ben Ellefson, who suffered two losses last year both at the hands of the Yellowjackets and the usual suspects in No.7-2A Pelican Rapids, led by Ryan Bruggeman, Perham basketball is right where it belongs - ranked first in the early Class 2A basketball polls.
Until someone in Section 8AA actually knocks off Perham, that’s where they belong.
Last year, Hawley was a odds-on favorite to win the section after a hefty 18-point victory over Perham in Hawley. Perham won the first matchup at home in double overtime.
But in the subsection semis, playoff Perham showed up and sent the Nuggets packing with a 67-55 victory at Concordia College. Much of the same happened to Crosby-Ironton three days later in the final.
To say this year’s Yellowjackets have targets on their backs is a no-brainer. Their own target is Target Center and until C-I or Hawley, or Pelican Rapids can dethrone the champs, that’s what should be expected from this team.
Perham plays Pelican Rapids for the first time Friday, December 13 at home. Perham travels to Hawley for the first game of the New Year January 7.
Another intriguing matchup is December 21 at home versus a tough No.5-A Battle Lake team. Perham won that game last year in Battle Lake by a dozen points. Battle Lake was 22-6 and made a state tournament appearance in Class A losing in the quarterfinals to Upsala at Williams Arena.
On any given night, one can expect big wins from this year’s Yellowjackets, a majority of the time a blowout.
That’s what happened to visiting Crookston, who despite a couple first half runs at Perham found themselves doubled-up by halftime 34-17. Perham played stalemate in the second half winning 61-46.
The scoring sheet mirrored much of the season totals with the starting five doing the heavy work.
Bahls led the team with 14 points, four of nine from three. Salathe and Beachy scored 13, Muer put up 11, Glines added eight points. Jaden Anderson had a deuce for the only bench scoring in the win.
Crookston got 16 points from Emmanuel McCullough and 14 from Seth Desrosier, but could not keep up with the scoring machine of Perham’s top five.
Like the past three seasons, there are plenty of big games that have been made bigger rivalries due to the incredible success of the Yellowjackets that this year’s seniors have had the privilege to witness, be a part of and now carry on.
Tuesday’s game with Crosby-Ironton will be a decent measuring stick as a hungry team looking for revenge awaits in a hostile gymnasium for the top-ranked team in 2A.
Hard not to get hyped up for games like that.
CRO 17 29 — 46
PER 34 27 — 61
CRO - McCullogh 16, Porter 14, Hefta 6, Hulst 3, Desrosier 3, Garmen 2, Miller 2.
PER - Bahls 14, Beachy 13, Salathe 13, Muer 11, Glines 8, Anderson 2.
8.East Grand Forks(3-1)
9.St. Cloud Cathedral(2-2)
3.Mountain Lake Area(1-0)
4.Southwest Minnesota Christian(2-0)
The Minnesota boys' high school basketball rankings, as provided by Minnesota Basketball News, a statewide basketball publication.