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'Jackets notch two big 'W's

Ted Fiskevold

EOT Illustrated

Perham chalked up two huge victories on the home floor last Thursday and Friday as regular season play winds down for this season's boy hoopsters.

"The team has been pretty focused as we go into the last game of the season with Pelican Rapids tomorrow night," Perham head coach Dave Cresap said in a Monday morning interview.

Senior 6-7 center Ben Bucholz scored 34 points to lead the Jackets to a 19-point victory over Wadena-Deer Creek on Thursday.

"Our team was shooting hot," an excited assistant coach Brian Schwantz said after the game. "Sophomore Zach Gabbard and junior Nick Tobkin are both guards. They each scored 14 points."

Wadena-Deer Creek played the game without the benefit of 6-5 Wolverine star center Jordon Reed, who scored 46 points against Crookston the week before.

The score was 47-32 at halftime. Schwantz noted that the "defense got better in the second half...our points average given up is 43 and we gave up 63...yes we certainly would have had a tougher game if Reed had been here and played."

Bucholz is called "Buch" (pronounced like book) by his teammates and friends. It was the Annual Autograph Night and Bucholz signed autographs for fans after the game, but was soon missing in action. While the rest of the team munched on pizza, "Buch disappeared" and was next found "in the gym practicing free throws."

"Everything went good--we could have played better defensively, but offensively we executed our plays," Bucholz said. "My personal best game was 36 points. Tonight I scored 34. The school record is 39 points."

"Tonight I was seven for 14 at the free throw line."

His long arms grab the ball before it hits the ground. "I'm usually not that bad at free throws...I could have broken my own personal best and the school record tonight," he finished, humble but serious.

Thanks to the Schmitz Motor Company of Perham, the Thursday home game was free for fans. But even with many Yellowjacket fans off to watch the girls' basketball team defeat Ulen-Hitterdal, and down in the cities to cheer the Jacket gymnasts on to their seventh straight Minnesota State Championship, there was "still a good crowd" according to assistant coach Schwantz.

Good-will donations were taken at the gate for a fund dedicated to improving outdoor playground equipment for summer speed and strength training and Schwantz said "over 600 bucks got collected."

Cresap was out with the flu for Thursday's game.

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"We won 76-44," Cresap said. "Yep, I was over the flu and at Friday's game. Lake Park-Audubon beat us earlier in the year by two points on their home turf. But last night, we had them by 32 points."

Bucholz was once again high scorer with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore forward Sam Stratton scored 12 points with three rebounds and three assists.

"It was 47-18 at half time and we were 29 points ahead," Cresap continued. "For this LP-A game we had 49 attempts from the field and made 28 for 57 percent and went 12 for 16 on free throws for 75 percent."

Bucholz made 8-10 free throws for 80 percent. Eighty percent the night before would have given him four more points--enough to beat his own personal best but one point shy of the school record.

But, like they say in the rodeo, ain't no need to ride 'em over 'cause you could not ride 'em different if you tried. Besides, 64 points in two nights, maybe that's some new school record?

Section 8AA playoffs coming soon

Depending on the outcome of the Pelican Rapids game (unknown at press time for this week's paper) Perham will be number two or number three seed in the Section 8-2A playoffs.

"A number two seed will earn us the first two rounds at home while a number three seed means only the first round at home, so either way the first round of our tournament play will be at home on March 11," Cresap said.

There are 17 teams in Section 8AA: eight in 8AA East and nine in 8AA West. The Yellowjackets are in the West.