No. 6 Hawley upsets top-ranked Pelican Rapids (VIDEO)
HAWLEY -- With 4 minutes, 39 seconds left in Monday's Minnesota boys basketball matchup between Class 2A top-ranked Pelican Rapids and No. 6-ranked Hawley, Nuggets guard Devon Pekas rose over a Vikings defender and drained a 3-pointer as he has done so many times in his career.
His 3-pointer not only put the Nuggets up 28 points en route to a 79-51 drubbing of their Heart O'Lakes conference foe, but it also put Pekas at 1,002 career varsity points at Hawley. Pekas was far too busy worrying about leading his Nuggets over the No. 1 team with a game-high 21 points to think about an individual milestone.
"It's always team first," Pekas said. "That win, in that fashion, in our home gym was just amazing. I actually had no idea I was that close. It's sweet the way I did it. We beat the No. 1 team and this place was packed more than I've ever seen. If we play like this every night and put the team first, we can go far."
A game that was postponed 10 days after inclement weather cancelled the original Jan. 11 date was worth the wait for Hawley (12-1, 4-1), as the Nuggets never trailed.
"We came out of the locker room expecting to win," Hawley coach Jed Carlson said. "This was a big win, but it's not like we're going to be throwing a party. When we step on the floor we expect to win. This shows what we're capable of. We fully realize we still need to go down there and do it again at their place otherwise this win means nothing."
Hawley opened the game on a 30-12 run behind 10 points from Ben Ellefson and six points from Jordan Harms during the run. The Nuggets took a 38-24 lead into the break and Pekas shut the door with 16 second-half points.
Pekas may have been the star of the night, but he wasn't the only one shining for Hawley. Ellefson finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, Dalton Leaf netted 12 points and Jacob Crompton had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, while holding Pelican Rapids big man Tucker Forsgren in check.
"We played a good game in the second half," Crompton said. "This shows what we can accomplish if we all play well. We just have to keep winning games. We want to come and win the next one and the next one after that."
After initially falling behind 30-12 in the first half, Pelican Rapids (10-3, 4-1) could not pull within single digits the rest of the way, as the Vikings dropped their first conference game.
"They did a great job defensively in their 1-3-1 focusing in on trying to slow down Tucker Forsgren and trying to keep the ball out of Ryan Bruggeman's hands," Pelican Rapids coach Doug Bruggeman said. "They did a really good job of offensively getting after us and dictating the pace of the game. They imposed their will on us. We have to play with more passion. There's a whole lot we need to figure out by the time we play them again."
The victory propels Perham into sole possession of first place in the HOL by one-half game at 5-1 with a rematch against Pelican Rapids coming up at home this Friday.
H (12-1, 4-1): Leaf 5 2-4 12, Harms 3 0-0 6, Ellefson 6 6-6 18, Pekas 8 0-0 21, Crompton 6 0-0 12, Stoa 1 0-0 2, Sellin 0 1-2 1, Filler 2 0-0 5, Regnier 1 0-0 2.
P (10-3, 4-1): Schell 1 1-2 4, Bruggeman 6 2-2 16, Haugen 0 1-4 1, Forsgren 7 6-8 20, Sillerud 0 1-2 1, Mackner 1 0-0 3, Gorton 2 0-0 4.
Half: H 38, P 24. 3-point goals: Pekas 5, Filler 1, Schell 1, Bruggeman 2, Mackner 1. Total fouls: H 17, P16. Rebounds: H 34 (Crompton 10, Ellefson 7,), P 19 (Bruggeman 5). Turnovers: H 15, P 19.
HAWLEY -- The Heart O' Lakes boys basketball standings tightened up Monday evening as No. 6 Hawley blew out top-ranked Pelican Rapids 79-51.
FOCUS Sports Editor Robert Williams contributed to this story.