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Representing the best, on and off the court

After the state tournament, fans continued to show their support for the boys basketball team at a 'welcome home' celebration at Prairie Wind Middle School on Sunday. Marie Nitke/FOCUS

Perham has a lot to be proud of.

For the second year in a row, the Yellowjackets boys basketball team traveled down to Minneapolis for a chance to compete in the state tournament.

Winning a championship title last year, and a respectable third-place finish this year, the players have demonstrated their athletic abilities, talent and determination, time and again.

They were also named the state academic champions this year, with an average grade point average of 3.8/4.0.

But that's not all.

The people of Perham set an example this past weekend - showing other teams and cities across the state what 'Perham Pride' is all about.

Five hundred people made the trek to the Cities to cheer on the team - an amazing amount of supporters from a town of 3,000.

And throughout the tournament, the team, the students and the fans - young and old alike - represented the school and community in top form.

In a 'welcome home' celebration for the team held at Prairie Wind Middle School on Sunday, Coach Dave Cresap said everyone he talked to down at state, from parents to bus drivers to security guards, remarked on the good behavior, manners and attitudes of Perham students - the band, the young fans in the stands, and of course, the players.

Both Cresap and activities director Fred Sailer said the players should be commended not only for their athletic skills, but for their conduct off the court, as well.

"Our coaches, our kids, they conduct themselves with a great deal of pride," said Sailer.

Yet the players remain humble. In their words to the crowd Sunday, senior team members kept the mood light, joking around with each other and crediting their success to their long-standing relationships as friends and teammates. They've been practicing together since they were in second grade.

"We're just a nitty gritty group of guys," said senior Jordan Cresap. "We don't have any 'flash' players, no 20- to 30-pointers on the team. But in the end, we get the job done."

Hats off to you, team.

And to your classmates and the community, too.