Hawley and Perham square off tonight in HOL hardwood battle
PERHAM -- The first big hardwood match-up of 2013 is tonight when the undefeated Hawley Nuggets come a-calling to Prairie Wind Middle School to face the Yellowjackets in a Heart O' Lakes Conference boys basketball game.
Recent roles are reversed as the Nuggets come to Perham ranked No. 3 in Class 2A with an overall record of 8-0 and 2-0 in conference play by way of wins over Barnesville 81-73 at home and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 69-36 on the road.
The underdog Yellowjackets are 6-4 overall and 2-1 in the HOL. Their only conference loss was at then-No. 6 Pelican Rapids 53-40. The two conference victories were over Breckenridge 75-49 at home and on the road at Barnesville 61-44 last Friday.
Hawley has a strenuous week as they will travel to Pelican Rapids, now ranked No. 1, Friday night for the early lead in the conference standings. The Vikings are 7-2 overall and 3-0 in the conference. Aside from the victory over Perham, Pelican has wins at Frazee 89-69 and at home over D-G-F 81-48. Pelican Rapids (QRF-3) is idle tonight awaiting the Friday arrival of the Nuggets (QRF-4).
While Perham and Pelican Rapids have enjoyed top state rankings the past few years, the Nuggets are still questing for the top spot, somewhat.
After last week's victory over Park Christian, members of the Nugget team and coaching staff had this to say to Forum Communications' Chris Murphy about attaining the No. 1 ranking.
"We want it," Hawley forward Ben Ellefson said, regarding the top spot in Class 2A. "We need more to prove it though. We have to beat the No. 1 team in order to get there."
"No, we don't want that," Hawley coach Jed Carlson said. "We don't want any more attention. Right now we're searching for respect in our conference. We got two-time defending section champ Perham and the No. 1 team in the state (Pelican Rapids) next week. We don't want that. We'll earn that, and we'll worry about that in March when it matters most."
Hawley played that game against Park Christian without starter Devon Pekas. According to Carlson, Pekas will suit up versus Perham.
Perham has a chance at knocking the Nuggets down with the rest of Class 2A. Of the 127 2A teams, Hawley is the lone remaining undefeated squad. According to statistics compiled by Minnesota-Scores.net, The Nuggets are fifth in 2A in scoring average with 75.8 points per game. They rank seventh in points allowed - 46.3. Hawley's point differential per game of 27.5 ranks the Nuggets atop Class 2A.
Hawley will pose a significant threat to the Yellowjackets' home court advantage - something Perham is still getting accustomed to having played seven of their 10 games this season on the road.
HOL Standings - Jan. 8
Pelican Rapids 3-0 (7-2)
Hawley 2-0 (8-0)
Perham 2-1 (6-4)
Barnesville 1-2 (5-4)
Breckenridge 1-2 (2-6)
D-G-F 0-2 (4-4)
Frazee 0-2 (3-7)
In other Tuesday HOL games, Breckenridge travels to Glyndon to face the Rebels and Barnesville is on the road at Frazee to take on the Hornets.
HOL teams' QRF - Jan. 7
No. 3 Pelican Rapids
No. 4 Hawley
No. 26 Perham
No. 79 Breckenridge
No. 89 Barnesville
No. 90 D-G-F
No. 116 Frazee
Tonight's tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Radio coverage will be on Lakes Radio 99.5 with Mike Peterson on the call. Streaming will also be available on lakesradio.net. For fans Twittering tonight, updates will be available @PerhamSports