Perham girls cakewalk to Pelican title
The Underwood Rockets hung in for a quarter of play before a swarming Yellowjacket defense and an offensive presence at the post led to a convincing, 55-39, victory to take the Pelican Rapids "Valkyrie" Tournament championship.
Katrina Moenkedick led all scorers with 19 points. Lauren Guck added 12, with both post players leading the way, in spite of a half-court defensive zone designed to stop both players.
"Going into this game I was interested to see how our girls would fare against a good rebounding team like Underwood," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said. "We took a step forward in the second half and learned what it would take to battle with a strong and physical team and come out with a win."
Steph Miller, Kaylan Huber, Becky Stoll and Lexy Karvonen all were solid and pesky on defense. Kelli Meehl was all over the court on both ends.
Seven Yellowjackets registered steals in the game totaling 17. Moenkedick led the way with five. Stoll picked four pockets.
"Our defensive pressure on the outside caused enough turnovers to keep us in control.
Despite outplaying Underwood, Carly Masloski and Ellen Ferry scored all but three of Underwood's first half points to keep the Bulldogs within seven at the break, 26-19.
"We struggled offensively in the half court for the second straight game as we are really going to have to focus on our execution and getting good shots when teams slow the tempo down."
In the second frame, the Yellowjackets spread the lead to 25 points before inserting bench substitutions.
"I was impressed with Lauren Guck coming off the bench tonight and giving us a lift offensively with 12 points as some of our other girls struggled to get shots to fall."
Stoll had nine points and five rebounds. Miller had six boards. Meehl scored three points and had four rebounds.
The victory ups the Perham girls record on the season to 8-0. The Yellowjackets will defend their undefeated record at home tonight, Thursday, Jan. 6, at 7:30, in the Prairie Wind Middle School gymnasium.
Perham 56, Hillcrest 36
The Perham girls basketball team cruised into the championship game of the Pelican Rapids Holiday Tournament with a dominating 56-36 victory over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.
"The girls played really well in the first half on both ends of the court and got us out to a comfortable lead at 33-16," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
Moenkedick led all scorers with 17 points seven rebounds. Rhoda Christenson, of Hillcrest, had 16 points. Miller scored 14 for the Jackets and Stoll got into double digits with 10.
Hillcrest did close the gap in the second half to 10 points but would get no closer.
"A couple of steals and layups by Steph Miller got us going back in the right direction and we were able to reestablish the lead we built in the first half," Gullingsrud said.
Miller had six steals to go with her 14 points.