Perham defeats Braham 52-46 in tight 2A third place game (VIDEO)
ST. PAUL- The Perham Yellowjackets boys basketball team completed another very successful season Saturday with a win over the Braham Bombers for the third place trophy at the Minnesota High School League State Tournament at Concordia University's Gangelhoff Center in a nail biter for the second day in a row.
The Yellowjackets found their way into the consolation game a day after a tough, buzzer beater loss to Litchfield at the Target Center.
"Thank you to the community of Perham. Going from last year to this year, the support we've gotten, there's probably three, four, 500 people out there," said senior Mark Schumacher. "They drove three, four hours down here to watch us. It means the world to us."
Schumacher led the way for Perham with 16 points, hitting five of six field goals, five of five free throws and one three pointer in the first half alone.
"It feels really good," Schumacher said with a wide grin on his face.
The Yellowjackets jumped out early with two lay-ups by Jordan Cresap and one by Mike Wiskow.
Braham answered, by hitting jumpers and taking the lead at 13:23 when Tyler Vaughan nailed one from beyond the arc for three.
Perham responded with four unanswered points from Wiskow and Jordan Bruhn who took it to the hole with an aerial, double-pump similar to another basketball player named Jordan.
The Bombers took a 12-10 lead at 10:39 on a jumper by Anthony Bias.
But for the next three minutes, Perham's offense got it done with a 10-0 run that culminated with a three-pointer by Jordan Cresap to take a 20-12 lead.
The Bombers wouldn't go down easy as they bounced back bringing the score within four points going into halftime.
Schumacher led the way early in the second half with two quick lay-ups and Cresap hit another three. By 14:49, the Yellow Jackets completed their second offensive tear of the game that stretched their lead to 12 points on the shoulders of Schumacher.
Just when things were looking to finish easy for Perham, Braham countered with a seven-minute offensive and defensive run that shrank the Yellowjacket lead to two points with 5:37 to go in the game.
"After that stretch, we knew we had to settle down, play defense and that's what we did. We limited their shots and took the easy ones when we got them," Schumacher said.
For the remaining two minutes of the game, the Yellowjackets were able to get to the free throw with Cresap and Josh Nordick each hitting two to seal the deal.
As the clock ticked down, the energy level on the Perham bench and in the stands rose with anticipation of the third place hardware.
When the clock hit zero, the Perham faithful rejoiced with the satisfaction of knowing their boys had represented with class, dignity and sportsmanship for a second consecutive year at the state tournament.
"The support of this town was unreal. Everyone that came down, they stuck with us today," Jordan Bruhn said. "Even though we didn't win last night to play for first place. They still came out today and cheered us on until the end."
"I don't have any words, they've (the fans) been just great. They're always there supporting us no matter what," said Cresap. "To see the stands packed just gave me the chills. I can't thank them enough."
"It was electrifying," Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. "These kids fed off that. Coming off last night, I didn't know if they'd have the energy but we had it the whole game."
Although third place wasn't the ultimate goal for the Yellowjackets, the smiles on the faces of players and coaches told a story of a bittersweet ending to a tournament that concludes the high school careers of seven Perham seniors. A group of kids who took home the first place trophy at last year's tournament.
"These seniors are probably the most special group I've had in a long time. It was really special with my son (Jordan Cresap) to coach him two straight years at the state tournament and those six other seniors," Cresap said.
"I have my dad as a head coach and it's been a blast this whole time. We've been through some ups and some downs all throughout the years but it's just been great having him there as a mentor for me and as a dad when I come home," Jordan Cresap said with tears in his eyes. "It's just a blessing."
However, the biggest blessing of all was having senior Zach Gabbard in uniform on the bench supporting his friends and teammates throughout the season and this tournament after collapsing on the floor during a game last year and almost losing his life.
"This really means a lot," Gabbard said. "I didn't know if I'd be alive to make it here."
Not only is Gabbard alive and able to celebrate another great achievement with his team and community, but he has hope of returning to the hardwood as a walk-on for the Minnesota State University Dragons as a freshman next year.
"I can't thank the Perham community enough for their support," Gabbard said. "They've been so gracious."
The same can be said in return for the town of Perham and their love of this squad.
With good reason.
"Words can't tell how good they (team) are and how special they are as people," Dave Cresap said. "They treat people the way they want to be treated and they do the right thing."
The most important accomplishment of all by this remarkable group of Perham kids.
Perham vs Braham
3/24/12 12:00pm at Gangelhoff Center
At Gangelhoff Center
PERHAM 52, BRAHAM 46
Schumacher, Mark 5-6 5-5 16; Cresap, Jordan 5-11 2-2 14; Bruhn, Jordan 3-4
2-9 8; Wiskow, Mike 4-6 0-1 8; Anderson, Jordan 1-7 2-2 4; Nordick, Josh 0-0
2-2 2; Glines, Tyler 0-0 0-0 0; Cavanagh, Dan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-34 13-21
Vaughan, Tyler 6-21 2-3 16; Braund, Cameron 6-9 0-0 12; Bias, Anthony 5-15
0-0 11; Hollenkamp, Shaun 1-3 2-2 5; Klemz, Drew 1-4 0-0 2; Dahlman, Zach
0-1 0-0 0; Stigen, Sam 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 19-58 4-5 46.
Perham........................ 26 26 - 52
Braham........................ 22 24 - 46
3-point goals--Perham 3-12 (Cresap, Jordan 2-8; Schumacher, Mark 1-1;
Anderson, Jordan 0-2; Bruhn, Jordan 0-1), Braham 4-24 (Vaughan, Tyler 2-12;
Bias, Anthony 1-4; Hollenkamp, Shaun 1-3; Stigen, Sam 0-4; Klemz, Drew 0-1).
Fouled out--Perham-None, Braham-None. Rebounds--Perham 36 (Bruhn, Jordan
11), Braham 25 (Vaughan, Tyler 8). Assists--Perham 11 (Bruhn, Jordan 7),
Braham 12 (Vaughan, Tyler 6). Total fouls--Perham 10, Braham 23. Technical