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Maria Rutten had to fire from half-court at the first half horn to record a missed shot, as the sophomore was nearly perfect shooting in Perham's victory Tuesday night. Robert Williams/FOCUS

Perham knocks Pelican Rapids out of first place

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PELICAN RAPIDS — Maria Rutten recorded a double-double and the Perham Yellowjackets showed no mercy to a wounded Heart O’ Lakes Conference-leading Pelican Rapids squad in Perham’s final regular season game defeating the Vikings 65-48 on the road.

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Pelican Rapids played their third game without the full services of leading scorer Mackenzie Korf and her typical 25 points per game.

Lincoln Haiby did her best to take charge of the Vikings’ offense scoring a game-high 23 points. Haiby also put in the court time to do so playing 35 of 36 game minutes.

Rutten and the Yellowjackets had too many answers, including eight three-pointers on a hot shooting night for Perham.

Perham was 8-16 (50 percent) from three and 27-51 (53 percent) overall from the field and four Yellowjackets scored in double figures.

Rutten led Perham with 20 to go with 10 rebounds; Analea Erickson and Brittany Miller each scored a dozen points; Tina Scheidecker added 11.

Ella Von Ruden scored six points but kicked out seven rebounds for three assists on a night the talented sophomore chose to find open shooters rather than take contested shots.

Rutten and Miller were each 2-3 from behind the arc. Scheidecker made all three of her three-point attempts. Perham’s ability to hit from outside provided a number of daggers to keep the Vikings at bay.

“When we choose to make great decisions, we can be pretty good offensively, but we have to defend better than we did last night,” Head Coach T.J. Super said.

A Rutten three gave Perham an early 19-9 lead and the Jackets built it to 13 points on a bucket by Josie Beachy with 7:17 remaining in the first half.

Pelican tightened up on defense and closed to within four points 28-24 with less than two minutes to play, but Miller answered with a three to push the lead to seven and Perham led 33-25 at the break.

The Vikings closed to within five early in the second half 38-33 on a basket by Charlotte Johnson, but Scheidecker, Rutten and Erickson answered with consecutive scores and Pelican Rapids would get no closer.

Down six points with 10:15 to go on a Haiby score, Miller buried her second three of the game to kill the last Pelican rally and Perham controlled tempo to victory down the stretch.

While Korf’s play-making ability was obviously missed, the remaining Vikings continued to charge back at the Yellowjackets; however, Perham’s hot shooting was far superior to Pelican’s 17-52 night from the field.

Korf was on the bench and the most vocal leader on what had to be an emotional night for the sophomore phenom and her team.

The loss was Pelican Rapids fourth straight and the Vikings are understandably a different team from the No. 9AA ranking from last Wednesday.

Rutten shot 7-8 in the first half scoring 16 of her 20 points. Her only miss was a heave from inside half-court at the buzzer. She finished 9-11 shooting (82 percent), nearly automatic with the rock.

Scheidecker was 4-5 shooting in a game where she picked her spots for open looks.

Perham’s ball-movement on offense has greatly improved over the course of the season and ending the regular season with a victory, regardless of the opponent’s situation, especially over Perham’s biggest rival, is a nice boost to have heading to the Section 8AA playoffs.

Perham’s victory (4-8, 11-14) also knocks Pelican Rapids out of first place in the HOL at 9-3. Four-time defending champs Hawley defeated Frazee at home 58-30 to take full possession of the top spot at 9-2.

Breckenridge (5-7) spoiled Barnesville’s last gasp at the conference title defending their home court 49-41 over the Trojans (8-4).

Hawley and D-G-F have the final HOL game of the year Friday night in Glyndon. The Rebels (4-7, 8-13) are all that stand between the Nuggets and a fifth straight Heart O’ Lakes Championship. Hawley has won 11 consecutive games.

D-G-F took it on the chin from 3A Detroit Lakes 71-37 in Glyndon Tuesday night. The Lakers have won 14 of their last 16 games, including wins over both Pelican Rapids and Perham.

The upcoming Section 8AA playoffs QRF will be one to watch during this final weekend of play.

There are two logjams in the standings.

The top three are Hawley No. 14, Breckenridge No. 16 and Pelican Rapids No. 19. Barnesville is at No. 26,

If teams finish within six points of each other tiebreakers will be in play.

Perham is currently fifth at No. 59; D-G-F is at No. 62 and Frazee is No. 63.

Pelican Rapids' loss dropped them from No. 15. to No. 19. A loss to Class A Hancock could provide a rematch of this game in the first round of the playoffs for Perham if Barnesville can snag the No. 3 seed and Perham can hold on to No. 5. For those wanting to delve a bit deeper into the playoff scenarios, a breakdown courtesy Ryan Weinzierl of Minnesota-Scores.net is below the boxscore.

Scoring:

PER 33 32 — 65

PEL 25 23 — 48

PER: Rutten 20 (10 rebounds), Erickson 12, Miller 12, T. Scheidecker 11, Von Ruden 6, Beachy 2, Baardsen 2.

PEL: Haiby 23, Johnson 9, Forsgren 8, French 3, Harthun 2, Olson 2, Thorson 1.

8AA QRF playoff scenarios:

Hawley will be No. 1 –  Nuggets win tiebreakers with everybody but Pelican Rapids.

PROBABLE: Breckenridge at No. 2 – winning last night gave some credibility to their QRF number (as does the OT loss to Pelican earlier this year) – if they beat Crookston and Pelican loses to Hancock, should move far enough out of a tie with Pelican.  If they stay in a tie, then Pelican wins the tiebreaker.  Most likely scenario is Breck/PR at 2-3.

HOWEVER, if Barnesville beats LPA and Pelican loses to Hancock (and takes the Vikings out of a tie with Breck), Barnesville might catch Pelican in the QRF and in that case Barnesville would win the tiebreaker and get the No. 3.

If Hawley beats DGF and Frazee beats WDC, then the QRF will probably keep Perham/Frazee/DGF “tied” and in that order.  If that is the case, then Frazee wins the tie with Perham, Perham wins it with DGF.  The seeds would be 5) Frazee 6) Perham 7) DGF.  Even though DGF owns the tiebreaker with Frazee, it can’t use it because Perham is in the way.  

HOWEVER – if DGF manages to stay above Perham or Frazee, then that order will change.  It is REALLY close, everything will depend on the order the final QRF puts those three in as to which tiebreakers are used, below are the possibilities – each team has 2 chances at the 5, 2 chances at the 6 and 2 chances at the 7-seed.

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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