Jackets stomp Rebels; Nuggets clinch HOL title
PERHAM - After losing a bit of swagger suffering back-to-back losses for the only time this season, Perham followed up the Barnesville and Hawley defeats with a cake walk at Frazee and added another blowout over an outmatched Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton team Friday night by a score of 76-41 in the final Heart O' Lakes Conference game for the Yellowjackets.
"We had a good team meeting and talked about the importance of smiling and having fun - patting a teammate on the back and doing all those little things - like tonight," Perham Head Coach Dave Cresap said.
Perham held a 19-point edge at the break up 43-24 thanks to a hot half from Eli Beachy, who nailed three shots from behind the arc and scored 16 of his game-high 19 points in the first 18 minutes. Beachy continued to showcase his defensive abilities, as well, with six steals from Rebel ball handlers.
D-G-F trailed the entire game after taking the first lead on an opening basket by Tanner Karger.
D-G-F employed a half-court zone defense most of the game, as teams have seen two ranked opponents find success against Perham in such a setup. It takes a near perfect effort to pull that off as Perham has dissected the zone in many games this season. Friday evening was a prime example of that again.
"I thought we handled the zone very well tonight," Eli Beachy said. "I have to give it to my teammates; they found everybody in the open spots. We really moved the ball well and shot the ball when we were open. I think that's been our main struggle all year against the zone - we don't shoot the ball when we're open and tonight we just attacked and moved the ball well."
Perham pulled away quickly and had the Rebels doubled-up 26-13 on two Beachy free throws with 6:11 remaining in the half. Up 21-13, Beachy went on an 8-0 run by himself to push the lead to 16 points.
The Rebels drew the ire of the referees trying to keep up with Perham and reached the double-bonus with over six minutes to go until the half.
Hunter Salathe returned to form driving the hoop for 14 points. Jake Anderson nailed a pair of threes and had a shifty full-court drive to the basket for a nice layup in the second half. Anderson scored 11.
"If Anderson's hot, he's tough to stop." said Beachy.
Jordan Hein flirted with a double-double scoring 11 to go with eight rebounds. Tyler Glines did the same scoring nine with nine rebounds. Sam Muer had seven points and six boards in an aggressive night under the hoop.
Muer found his way to two offensive rebounds on missed free throws by a teammate and turned both rebounds into points both at the line after drawing a foul and on a put-back.
Josh Nordick added five points on a night the last game's leading scorer was not needed to put the ball up frequently.
Perham finishes the conference schedule with an impressive record of 9-3 holding a solid lock on second place in the standings behind No. 2-2A Hawley. Perham is 16-6 overall with four non-conference games remaining until the playoff push.
As the two-time defending Section 8AA champs, the Yellowjackets are primed for another run to the final. Cresap relayed that to the team post-game in his particular idiom that has led to a state championship and a third place finish in back-to-back seasons.
"I told them - 'This is an opportunity of a lifetime. How many chances do you get to go 16-6? This is your only opportunity; let's take advantage of it and move on and get better.' - and I think we got better as a team."
The Hawley Nuggets clinched sole possession of the 2012-13 conference regular season championship with a 76-33 win over Frazee in Hawley Friday.
Devon Pekas led all scorers with 27 points. A dozen Nuggets scored in the game that was 36-18 by halftime. The Frazee Hornets are 0-11 in the HOL.
No. 10-2A Pelican Rapids continues to play without star point guard Ryan Bruggeman and kept pace with Perham and Hawley with a 62-55 victory over Breckenridge at home. Bruggeman remains out with a high ankle sprain.
Perham is right in the mix with both ranked teams in the conference and may have an upper hand in the chase for the Sub-Section and Section titles with Pelican Rapids playing a bit wounded late in the year.
Hawley (10-1, 19-1) will enter the playoffs as the obvious favorite in 8AA-South. Crosby-Ironton (19-4) is atop the North subsection standings with a QRF ranking of 14. Hawley is No. 4, while Pelican and Perham are No. 17 and No. 19 in the latest QRF numbers tabulated as of 9 p.m. Friday evening, according to Minnesota-Scores.net.
The thought process in the Perham locker room is the mindset that has kept the Section title in Perham for two straight seasons.
"The kids are really buying into what we're telling them," said Cresap. "Each and every day I tell them about the lessons we can learn and about cherishing the moment. They're living that and understanding that it's more than just a game. It's a short part of their life. We can put a lot of fun in their life if we just keep working hard and getting better."
Friday night, Perham got better and they had a lot of fun doing it.
The annual Autograph Night was held after the game where kids from around the area could talk to Yellowjacket players while getting player autographs.
Perham 76, D-G-F 41
Half: P 43, D 24
DGF: Beyer 3, Jacobsen 2, Nelson 8, Greene 7, Bjerke 2, Tollefson 2, Matthews 2, Poehls 2, Dalziel 8, Karger 3, Stalboerger 2.
PER: Beachy 19, Glines 9, Anderson 11, Hein 11, Nordick 5, Muer 7, Salathe 14.
Hawley 76, Frazee 33
Half: H 36, F 18
F: Olson 8, Courneya 2, Torma 5, Wokasch 14, Bellefueille 2, Dagget 2.
H: Leaf 2, Harms 8, Teeples 4, Ellefson 4, Steichen 2, Pekas 27, Filler 2, Sellin 2, Stoa 2, Regnier 2, Crompton 10, Tusow 2.