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Perham, Annandale advance to the Grand8 Championship

Perham's Martin LaFond drives to the basket for two of his 20 points in Perham's Grand8 Holiday Classic victory over Anoka. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Perham Yellowjackets showed how dynamic their offense can be in its wire-to-wire 72-49 victory over the Anoka Tornadoes on Dec. 27 during the opening round of the Grand8 Holiday Classic in Perham.

The Yellowjackets opened the game with multiple backdoor cuts to the hoop, catching Anoka off guard, building an early lead. The Yellowjackets followed with some solid outside shooting and distributed the ball well all game long, dishing out 19 total assists.

“Our intensity level was as good as I have seen it in a long time,” Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. “We wrote on the board, intensity and rebounding and boy did we do that. Even the baskets they scored, they were just bigger than us. Our intensity level defensively and our execution on offense was really good. I can’t be happier.”

Perham's Logan Richter works inside for a bucket.

Josh Jeziorski finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Jenson Beachy poured in 21 points and dished out eight assists. Martin LaFond added 20 points as well.

“We ran a couple of special sets to start because we know 4A teams get pretty amped up and aggressive defensively. We opened with a couple of backdoor plays, got the lead, set the tone and never looked back,” Cresap said. “I’m very, very proud of these guys. We spread the ball out. We had a lot of guys that did a lot of things besides the ones that scored. There were a lot of little things that go unnoticed with some guys. It was really a good team effort.”

Joseph Lombard led the way for Anoka with 14 points. Cody Lindenberg and Micah Madyun finished with 10 points each for Anoka. However, it was the Perham defense that did a number on the Tornadoes, slowing them down in the second half.

“They had to earn those at the rim because Lombard was just bigger. You take that equation out of it, we shut them down pretty well,” Cresap said. “I thought Logan Richter really answered the call, getting aggressive in the starting line up and we set the tone. Everybody that came into the game did something well. If you can get an effort out of everyone in some fashion, we are pretty good.”

The Yellowjackets built up a 22-12 lead in the first half, but the Tornadoes came back behind the shooting of Lindenberg and Lombard, cutting the lead down to four points.

Beachy and LaFond answered with back-to-back 3-pointers, stretching the lead back to 10, before closing out the half with an eight-point lead, 34-26.

Perham's Jenson Beachy drives to the hoop and draws the contact.

The Yellowjackets used an 11-3 run to start the second half, putting away the Tornadoes. The run was highlighted by a 3-pointer from Beachy. Perham extended the lead when Richter showcased his dynamic passing skills, finding Jeziorski open underneath the hoop for a trio of layups in the second half. Richter dished out six assists in the game.

“Logan presents a presence inside and he is a heck of a passer,” Cresap said. “He got the ball to Carter (Cresap) late in the game for a 3-pointer that was huge and the passes down low to Jeziorski. It was a really, really nice team effort.”

The Yellowjackets improve to 8-0 overall on the season and will face Annandale in the championship game on Dec. 28 at 5 p.m.

Anoka 26 23--49

Perham 34 38--72

Anoka-Amir Madyun 2, Addison Ostendorf 7, Cody Lindenberg 10, Micah Madyun 10, Levi Cooper 6, Joseph Lombard 14

3-pointers: Ostendorf. Free Throws: 6-12. Team Fouls: 8. Fouled Out: None

Perham-Jenson Beachy 21, Martin LaFond 20, Josh Jeziorski 21, Seth Johnson 2, Carter Cresap 6, Logan Richter 2

3-pointers: Beachy 4, LaFond 2, Jeziorski 1, Cresap 2. Team Fouls: 14. Fouled Out: None

Annandale 57, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 50

The sixth ranked Annandale Cardinals used a late run to pull past the Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tigers for a 57-50 victory in the opening game of the Grand8 Holiday Classic in Perham on Dec. 27.

The Tigers held a 37-36 lead in the second half, but a 13-2 run by the Cardinals midway through the second half, allowed them to gain the lead for good.

The Tigers battled to the end, cutting the lead down to five in the closing minutes, but could not capitalize on the Cardinals struggles at the free throw line.

Jaret Johnson led the way for the Tigers, finishing with 16 points. Camden Arndt finished in double figures with 12 points, while Connor Koebernick finished with 10 points.

Every time the Cardinals worked for separation, the Tigers rallied back. They trailed by 11 points in the first half, before closing it to two points on a 3-pointer by Johnson at the end of the first half.

The Cardinals opened the second half with a mini run, taking a 36-30 lead, but the Tigers stormed back with a seven point spurt, taking the lead on a Arndt basket.

However, the Tigers went cold and the Cardinals took advantage. Despite battling foul trouble, Trent Peper led the Cardinals. He finished with 16 points, 10 of them coming in the second half. Trenton Peterson finished with 11 points, while Leo Healy ended the game with 10 points.

Annandale will play Perham for the Grand8 Holiday Classic Championship, while the Tigers will take on Anoka for third place on Dec. 28.

Morris Area 25 25--50

Annandale 27 30--57

MA-CA-Camden Arndt 12, Connor Koebernick 10, Jackson Loge 3, Tate Nelson 8, Jaret Johnson 16.

3-pointers:Koebernick 2, Loge, Johnson 2. Free Throws: 3-7. Team Fouls: 17. Fouled Out: None

ANN-Leo Healy 10, Trenton Peterson 11, Trent Peper 16, Nick Bieniek 8, AJ Hinz 9, Jayden Hardy 3

3-pointers: Peterson 2, Bieniek 2, Hardy. Free Throws: 8-16. Team Fouls: 13. Fouled Out: None

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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