In a huge quarterfinal match-up, only one team will have a shot at the 2A title after Wednesday night. The losing team gets a one-way ticket home.
“That ought to be everybody’s team expectation,” Minnehaha Head Coach Lance Johnson said about the quest for a state title.
“No experience, at all,” Perham Head Coach Dave Cresap said of his team after the Section final. “They were able to get there and hopefully, represent Perham well.”
Perham heads into Wednesday’s game 2-0 in the opening round the past two seasons. Minnehaha missed last season, and tasted a one-and-done first round scenario on their prior two trips.
“We know how it feels to lose on that first Wednesday,” Johnson said. “We’d like to get that monkey off our back.”
The Redhawks will take the court at Target Center with plenty of desire to turn that trend around and advance to Friday’s semifinals.
In 2011, while Perham ran the table to the title, the Redhawks were defeated in the quarterfinals by Redwood Valley 70-65. Crosby-Ironton made it one-and-done for the Redhawks in 2010 72-67.
Minnehaha has to come in confident, having defeated Perham this season 66-50, Perham’s second-worst defeat of the season. The two teams played in Perham on opening night.
“They’re going to be a completely different team,” Johnson said.
As will the Redhawks and their up-tempo senior trio of Kaharri Carter (14 ppg), Marcellous Hazzard (12 ppg) and Thomas Gedion (11 ppg). The three combined for 43 points, 21 for Carter, in the November win.
The task for Minnehaha Academy (23-6), the top seed, will be figuring out who to stop from the Yellowjackets. In the four Section playoff games, as in the regular season, Perham (23-7) got leading scorer efforts from multiple players: Hunter Salathe twice, Josh Nordick and Jordan Hein.
Tyler Glines, Eli Beachy, Jake Anderson and Nick Bahls have also played that role this season. Sam Muer comes off the bench and scores in spurts. Matt Formanek finds his way to rebounds and can play plenty of minutes when needed.
Perham has not elected to go to the bench often in the past few games. There are plenty of points waiting there should Anderson’s threes be needed or Salathe find foul trouble calling Muer and Formanek into play.
Perham is no easy draw for a No. 1 seed.
“Quite honestly, I don’t think seeding makes a big deal of difference when you have to play Perham,“ Johnson said. “They’re so well-coached.”
Both teams enter play with full rosters, having not suffered the injury bug late in the season. The Redhawks favor up-tempo play and score over 67 points per game. They allow 59 ppg, sporting an average margin of victory of eight points.
While Perham proved they can play up-tempo running more this season than the past two, the formula for playoff success for the Yellowjackets has been a slower-paced half-court game where defense is the difference.
Perham comes in with a 17-point average margin of victory scoring 66 ppg, while allowing only 49 ppg. Hawley scored 55 points for the most against Perham in four playoff games.
The Redhawks have won their past two playoff games by scores of 84-63 and 83-62, after a 60-50 win over St. Paul Academy to open the playoffs.
The first game of the year was a one-point affair in the second half. The difference in that game was Carter imposing his will on the offensive end.
Perham has done the same in their playoff games getting ahead on the scoreboard and holding teams at bay.
Controlling Carter will be key. Continuing to out-battle for rebounds and loose balls will be paramount. Perham has out-worked their past four opponents and managed to remove opposing team’s offensive threats by way of fouls.
If the Yellowjackets continue to dictate their style of play, a win over Minnehaha will only be called an upset on paper and felt so in the Redhawks’ locker room. Both teams have something to prove, which should make for a testy affair at Target Center.There are no television broadcasts or video streams available for the quarterfinals.
Lakes 99.5 Sports Director Mike Peterson will have the call on radio and an audio stream on LakesRadio.net.
Photos and live game updates will also be available @PerhamSports. Live statistics will also be posted by the MSHSL.