MOORHEAD — Perham built a 14-point advantage with 7:09 to play and held off a late Crosby-Ironton run to win their third consecutive Section 8AA boys basketball championship Friday evening in Memorial Auditorium at Concordia College.
The Yellowjackets defeated the Rangers 50-42 behind 15 points from Jordan Hein, 14 from Josh Nordick and a dozen from Hunter Salathe.
“There’s not many schools that can say they’re down there three times in a row,” Head Coach Dave Cresap said. “These kids really amaze me.”
“This is our home court,” Jordan Hein said. “We never really felt like we were out of it. We were in control. We didn’t play very good basketball, but we always felt like we were in control of the game.”
Perham came out of halftime on a 14-8 spurt to build their largest advantage. The Rangers answered with an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 39-36 with four minutes to play on a basket by Caleb Baker.
Ranger sophomore sensation Daniel Hudrlik fouled out seconds later at 3:23. Hudrlik left the game the leading scorer with 19 points.
Crosby-Ironton creeped within three points once more at 43-40 with less than two minutes to play. Perham held off the Rangers from the free throw line. Perham shot 7-9 from the stripe in the final two minutes to keep Crosby-Ironton at bay.
“We’ve been putting a lot of effort into free throws in practice, especially, when we’re tired,” Glines said.
Much like the Subsection final victory over Hawley, there were five early lead changes before Perham grabbed the lead for good in the first half. Perham never trailed after Glines took a nice feed from Hein slashing to the hoop for a 10-8 lead with 12:55 remaining until halftime.
Hudrlik tied the game at 12, but Glines scored again at the 10-minute mark for a 14-12 lead. Perham outscored the Rangers 9-5 to end a low-scoring first half 23-17.
The game was typical Perham playoff basketball and the Yellowjackets mastered another zone defense as teams have routinely thrown half-court defensive zones at Perham all playoffs.
“We’re not the most exciting team to watch all the time, but it gets the job done,” said Glines.
Perham slowed down and dictated play wary of the clock and kept the dwindling time in their favor happy to play keep away on offense forcing the Rangers to foul.
Perham also got Hudrlik out of the game when Eli Beachy drew a charge. In the last three playoff games, Perham has found a way to get rid of an opposing scorer. Both Tucker Forsgren and Ryan Bruggeman fouled out in the Subsection semis win over Pelican Rapids. Ben Ellefson rode crucial bench time when Perham sent him to the bench with four with plenty of time remaining in the victory over Hawley.
While Perham entered this Section final as favorites, the road there was played in an underdog role in dispatching both ranked Heart O’ Lakes teams. The underdog role was a welcome change to the past two pressure-packed seasons as the heavy favorites.
“It’s kind of nice,” said Hein. “The last two years the target has been on our backs and being the underdogs we just kind of slid in there with no pressure; Cresap, he’s so loose now; he just gets us going, so it’s awesome.”
“Going into it with a target on your back is always hard, Cresap said. “These kids just played together so well. Tonight wasn’t a perfect game, but we didn’t need a perfect game to win.”
The Yellowjackets will represent Section 8AA for the third straight year at the Minnesota State Basketball Tournament beginning Wednesday, March 20 in Minneapolis. Quarterfinal games will be played at Target Center and Williams Arena. Class 2A match-ups will be released Sunday morning.
“Now that we’re there, we want to do some damage,” said Hein.
Class 2A first round match-ups:
#1 Minnehaha Academy (23-6) vs. Perham (23-7), 6 p.m. at Target Center
#5 Annandale (20-9) vs. #4 Byron (25-4), 8 p.m. at Target Center
#2 Litchfield (24-5) vs. Redwood Valley (24-5), 6 p.m. at Williams Arena
#3 Hayfield (22-7) vs. Esko (26-4), 8 p.m. at Williams Arena
Forum's Eric Peterson's take on the game can be found here.
For more photos, check out @PerhamSports on Twitter.
Video highlights from KVRR are here.
Perham 50, Crosby-Ironton 42
Half: Perham 23, Crosby-Ironton 17
Perham: Hein 15, Nordick 14, Salathe 12, Glines 8, Beachy 1.
Crosby-Ironton: Hudrlik 19, Baker 14, Goodwin 7, Tesdahl 2.