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Perham girls bounce back from tough losses

Perham's Aixa Kolofale drives into the lane and pulls up for a shot against Detroit Lakes. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 3
Perham's Mesa Schultz finds an opening in the Detroit Lakes defense and attacks the basket during Perham's win over Detroit Lakes. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 3
Perham's Gabby DeBoer drives the baseline and gets around a Detroit Lakes defender on her way to the basket. Jason Groth/FOCUS3 / 3

The Perham Yellowjackets hope to take the next step as a girls basketball team.

One of the keys to making that move is winning games you are supposed to win. The Yellowjackets did just that when they defeated Detroit Lakes 73-57 on Jan. 27 at the Prairie Wind Middle School.

The Yellowjackets were coming off two tough losses against top teams in the section and the state. First, they dropped an overtime decision to then second-ranked Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and another close decision to Barnesville. A win against either of those two teams would have helped the Yellowjackets make that step to the next level.

The win against Detroit Lakes is another one, for different reasons. It's not the marquee win they were hoping for against DGF or Barnesville, but its a game they needed to take care of business from the onset. The Yellowjackets snapped a two-game losing streak and led wire-to-wire in picking up their 11th win of the season.

Gabby DeBoer and Mesa Schultz attacked inside, finishing with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Rachel Muer hit from the outside. Muer finished with a team-high of 17 points, hitting five 3-pointers in the win.

The Yellowjackets struggled with 6-foot 2-inch forward Breanna Price in the first half. She finished with 14 points, 10 coming in the first half. The Yellowjackets shut her down in the second half, but left some lanes open, however Detroit Lakes was unable to take advantage.

Perham used a 12-0 run early in the first half, taking control of the game. It was a mix of inside play from DeBoer, along with balanced 3-point shooting early. DeBoer scored all 15 of her points in the first half. The Yellowjackets hit six of their nine 3-pointers in the opening half.

Anna Cihak added 11 points to go with the 14 from Price for the Lakers. The Yellowjackets improved to 11-6 overall on the season, while Detroit Lakes fell to 2-15. The Yellowjackets return to action on Thursday, Feb. 1 when they travel to Breckenridge to take on the Cowgirls at 7:30 p.m.

DL 28 29--57

PER 48 25--73

DL: Lauryn Manning 5, Matteya Borah 5, Cortney Brodsho 2, Haidyn Gunderson 2, Lauren Tschider 6, Mercedez Bellanger 4, Ellie Lunde 4, Taylor Block 2, Anna Cihak 11, Breanna Price 14, McKinna Greggersen 2

3-pointers: Borah, Cihak 2. Free Throws: 6-12. Team Fouls 12: Fouled Out: None

PER: Kolbey Bormann 9, Lacy Richter 5, Lisa Meader 4, Gabby DeBoer 15, Mesa Schultz 14, Lizzy LaFond 2, Aixa Kolofale 4, Rachel Muer 17, Katie Johnson 3

3-pointers: Bormann, Richter, Meader, Muer 5, Johnson

Barnesville 52, Perham 45

Emma Nielsen scored 16 points, while Nicole Herbranson added 14 in helping the Barnesville Trojans to a 52-45 victory over Perham, completing the season sweep of the Yellowjackets.

The Yellowjackets started off slow, coming off a heartbreaking loss to DGF. However, they battled back, but couldn't close the gap against Barnesville in the second half.

Kolbey Bormann and Lisa Meader led the Yellowjackets with eight points each, while Lacy Richter and Rachel Muer added seven each.

The Yellowjackets were hurt at the free throw line for the second straight game. They hit just six of 17 attempts, while Barnesville hit on 13 of 21.

The loss dropped the Yellowjackets to 4-4 in conference play.

PER 20 25--45

BAR 25 27--52

PER: Kolbey Bormann 8, Lacy Richter 7, Lisa Meader 8, Gabby DeBoer 5, Mesa Schultz 5, Aixa Kolofale 2, Rachel Muer 7, Katie Johnson 3

3-pointers: Bormann 2, Richter, Meader 2, Muer, Johnson. Free Throws: 6-17. Team Fouls: 14. Fouled Out: None

BAR: Nicole Herbranson 14, Claire Meyer 6, Andria McIntyre 11, Emma Nielsen 16, Wylie Lewis 2, Elora Passa 3

3-pointers: Herbranson, Meyer, McIntyre, Nielsen 4. Free Throws: 13-21. Team Fouls: 14. Fouled Out: None

DGF 76, Perham 74

The Perham Yellowjackets were on the brink of their biggest win of the season when they squared off with the second-ranked Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels on Jan. 23 in Glyndon.

The Yellowjackets led for most of the contest, but ultimately it was the Rebels rallying for a 76-74 overtime victory.

The Yellowjackets played an exceptional first half, building up a 39-21 lead on the Rebels. However, the second-ranked Rebels had a response in the second half. They were able to work the lead down and eventually catch the Yellowjackets in the closing seconds. Perham's last-second effort to get the win in regulation fell short and it went to overtime.

The Yellowjackets grabbed the early overtime lead when DeBoer drove to the basket and drew the and-1, giving Perham a 74-73 lead. Rae Critchley tied the game with a free throw and Perham had a chance to take the lead at the line. However, the struggles at the line caught up to the Yellowjackets in overtime, as they did at the end of the second half. The Yellowjackets missed two and DGF gained control of the rebound.

The Rebels milked the clock down for more than a minute, before driving to the basket. Natalie Steichen was fouled and sank both free throws. Perham had two opportunities at the hoop in the closing seconds, missing a 3-pointer and a putback attempt.

Steichen led the way for the Rebels, finishing with 29 points. She hit 12 of 15 free throws. Katlyn Brenna finished with 15, before fouling out in the second half.

DeBoer led the way for the Yellowjackets. She finished with 24 points, while Lacy Richter added 13 points. Mesa Schultz scored 11.

The Yellowjackets were left to lament the missed opportunities at the free throw line. They finished the game hitting on just 53 percent.

PER 39 32 3--74

DGF 21 50 5--76

PER: Lacy Richter 13, Lisa Meader 8, Gabby DeBoer 24, Mesa Schultz 11, Aixa Kolofale 7, Rachel Muer 11

3-pointers: Richter 2, Meader, Kolofale, Muer 3. Free Throws: 19-36. Team Fouls:18. Fouled Out: DeBoer

DGF: Natalie Steichen 29, Katlyn Brenna 14, Rae Critchley 6, Grace Steichen 7, Allie Critchley 8, Peyton Wilson 2, Maria Watt 9.

3-pointers: Steichen, R. Critchley, A. Critchley 2. Free Throws: 18-26. Team Fouls: 28. Fouled Out: Brenna

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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