Update: Jackets clinch HOL title and No. 1 seed
BARNESVILLE — The Perham Yellowjackets clinched the top seed in Section 8AA SW and a share of the Heart O’ Lakes Conference championship after a 57-52 regular season-ending victory Thursday evening.
“It’s such a good game to beat Barnesville away,” Nick Bahls said. “It’s superb. It’s a good feeling.”
Perham finishes the season 9-3 in league play tied with the Hawley Nuggets for the HOL title, the second straight championship for Hawley, the second time in three seasons for Perham.
The Yellowjackets led the Trojans the entire first half. Sam Muer scored eight of Perham’s first 11 points getting loose in the paint slicing through Barensville’s half-court zone.
Barnesville missed seven of their first 10 field goals starting the game 0-8 shooting and were held scoreless for the opening four minutes as Perham built a seven-point lead before Barnesville got on the board.
Perham led by as many as nine points in the first half at 17-8 on a bucket by Muer and 19-10 on a Tyler Glines basket.
Barnesville cut the lead to four at halftime 25-21 finishing the half on an 11-6 run led by nine points from Michael Strand, who did not play at 100 percent due to a right shoulder injury. Muer led all scorers at the break with 10 points and left midway through the half after picking up his second foul.
Jamie Hietala and Andrew Johnson played important minutes in Muer’s stead; Johnson scored an important basket to answer back-to-back successful scoring trips by the Trojans.
Nick Bahls came out scorching hot early in the second half scoring all of his team-high 17 points in the final 18 minutes.
“I just had to keep my confidence high and I knew my teammates were behind me,” said Bahls. “They gave me the ball. They had full trust in me. I did what I do best.”
Kyler Martz scored the first five points and gave Barnesville their first lead of the game 26-25 two minutes into the half.
Bahls answered with a three.
Martz broke a 28-all tie at the line at 13:18.
Hunter Salathe answered to put Perham up for good 30-29.
Barnesville managed to tie the score at 36 and 39 as Strand and Martz both made a basket and one after being fouled.
Bahls answered with a three.
Perham forced a turnover and Bahls scored again to push the lead to 44-39 with seven minutes to play.
Two minutes later Muer scored and Perham led by nine points 48-39.
Martz pulled the Trojans within three points with a minute remaining but Glines and Bahls sealed the game from the line.
“We emphasize free throws,” Muer said. “It’s just an important part of the game.”
“That’s what wins games,” Bahls said.
Bahls missed his last two attempts with 18.8 ticks on the clock but redeemed himself by sprinting down the court and blocking a last chance three-point attempt by Nathan Dokkebakken.
Salathe and Muer joined Bahls (17) in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Glines scored six and dished out eight assists.
Martz led all scorers with 18 points. Ben Sauve and Strand each scored a dozen.
Perham was 21-33 shooting from the field (64 percent), 3-10 from the arc, all made by Bahls. Barnesville was 20-46 (43 percent), 3-17 from three. Neither team hit a three-pointer in the first half of play.
Perham played patiently on offense dissecting the zone and finding open looks taking a lot of passes and time off the clock to do so.
Conversely, Perham’s tight man-to-man defense forced the Trojans to take contested shots and the home court rims were not always friendly to the hosts.
The victory assures Perham of the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Section 8AA Southwest subsection playoffs. The Yellowjackets will be aiming for their fourth subsection and 8AA title in a row under head coach Dave Cresap.
“He’s going to prepare us the best that we can be prepared," said Muer. “We’re going to take it to ‘em.”
Perham (18-7) will likely open up at home versus the likely No. 8-seeded Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
Two more victories will assure the Yellowjackets of a fifth consecutive 20-win season.
Perham's potential second round matchup will be Pelican Rapids or Hawley. The two teams are separated by decimal points and seeding will be decided by tiebreaker. For an explanation on the QRF tiebreaker click here. Pelican Rapids should be awarded the No. 3 seed due to overall winning percentage. Pelican Rapids is 16-7 with one game to play. Hawley is 14-10 with one game remaining. The bracket will be officially seeded Saturday, Feb. 22.
Update: 8AA SW subsection matchups: 1 Perham v 8 WDC; 2 Barnesville v 7 Frazee; 3 Pelican Rapids v 6 DGF, 4 Hawley v 5 Breckenridge.
Saturday's QRF: 11 Perham 131.7, 16 Barnesville 120.2, 27 Hawley 114.1, 28 Pelican 113.5, 61 Breckenridge 83.9, 75 DGF 75.3, 107 Frazee 52.3, 114 WDC 46.2.
WDC missed the tiebreaker (6.0) with Frazee by .01 after defeating the Hornets Friday night. Pelican should get the No. 3-seed over Hawley by the overall record percentage tiebreaker.
Full bracket available at Minnesota-Scores.net.
Perham's first playoff game would be at home before the tournament moves to a neutral floor at Concordia College.
Final HOL Standings:
Pelican Rapids 7-5
Section 8AA SW Records (in order of likely seeding):
Pelican Rapids 10-6
Wadena-Deer Creek 0-11
PER 25 32 — 57
BAR 21 31 — 52
PER: Bahls 17, Salathe 14, Muer 12, Beachy 6, Glines 6, Johnson 2.
BAR: Martz 18, Sauve 12, Strand 12, B. Randlev 6, Dokkebakken 2, N. Randlev 2.
Yellowjacket regular season scoring:
Salathe 325, Bahls, 288, Glines 225, Muer 223, Beachy 175, Kenntemich 49, Willenbring 21, Moberg 18, Hietala 17, Weis 13, Anderson 12, Johnson 4, Meader 4, Tellinghuisen 2.