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Sauk Centre, Roseau open Grand8 with victories

Perham's Mesa Schultz gets inside the Sauk Centre defender on her way to the hoop during the first half of their Grand8 Holiday Classic game with the top-ranked Mainstreeters. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Sauk Centre Mainstreeters showcased why they are the No. 1 team in the state for Class AA when they opened the Grand8 Holiday Classic with a 75-54 victory over the host Perham Yellowjackets on Dec. 27 at the Prairie Wind Middle School.

The Mainstreeters delivered a first half knockout punch, opening the game on a 12-0 run. They followed the 12-0 run with a 13-0 run as well, building an insurmountable first half lead. Despite the cold night shooting which can be credited to the blanket defense by the Mainstreeters, the Yellowjackets responded with a solid second half, outscoring the state’s No. 1 team, 39-36.

Lacey Richter drives the baseline against Sauk Centre.

“We knew we were in for a battle, which would be an understatement. They are a really, really good team and they don’t have any weaknesses,” Perham head coach T.J. Super said. “We had a game plan in place, but having one in place an executing it against Sauk Centre is two different things. We got punched in the mouth right away, but I was happy with how the girls responded.”

Super said he thought his team played some good defense, but got caught out of position after several missed shots, which the Mainstreeters were able to capitalize on in transition.

“That 9-0 run at the end of the first half really deflated everything,” Super said. “Our girls responded well and took care of the ball. We were a little scared with our shooting, but we have to let them fly a little bit more than what we did. Overall, our girls played hard and that’s all you can really ask.”

The Mainstreeters are outscoring their opponents on average by 31.5 points per game. New London-Spicer lost to Sauk Centre by 11 points earlier in the season and that was the closest game the Mainstreers have been in all season long.

Tori Peschel led all scorers with 19 points. Julia Dammann finished with 13 points, while Kelsey Peschel ended with 11 points.

Gabby DeBoer led the way for Perham with 12 points, while Rachel Muer finished with nine and Grayce Mickelson added nine points.

Gabby DeBoer drives the lane against Sauk Centre.

Super said they want to play really good teams and they wanted to play the best team there is when they set up the tournament.

“I think we can learn from it. We can learn from what they do and we can learn from what we didn’t do well,” Super said. “We have to become better ball-handlers and be ready to shoot a little quicker. There were some girls we thought that could have taken more shots. The whole speed of things is going to be important for us going forward.”

The Yellowjackets fall to 4-3 overall on the season and will take on Holdingford in the third place game. It’s a rematch of last year’s third place game where the Yellowjackets upended the Huskers 50-45. Tip off for Perham and Holdingford is set for 12:30 p.m.

Sauk Centre improves to 9-0 on the season and will take on Roseau in the Grand8 Holiday Classic Championship game. The two teams met in last year’s Class AA Championship with the Rams securing 75-64 win. It was one of just two losses for the Mainstreeters last year, who finished with a 31-2 record. The victory capped off a perfect season for the Rams, who finished 32-0. The Rams and the Mainstreeters battle for the Grand8 Holiday Classic Championship at 3:30 p.m.

Sauk Centre 39 36--75

Perham 15 39--54

Sauk Centre-Kelsey Peschel 11, Kenzie Schmiesing 8, Megan Klaphake 3, Megan Thoennes 1, Tori Peschel 19, Maesyn Thiesen 9, Julia Dammann 13, McKenna Westby 2, Alyssa Ziemer 3, Michaela Dammann 3, Kayle Trisko 2

3-pointers: Peschel 2, Schmiesing 2, Klaphake, Thiesen 3. Free Throws: 8-14. Team Fouls 12. Fouled Out: None.

Perham-Kolbey Bormann 3, Lacey Richter 2, Caitlin Sondag 3, Jade Lenius 2, Gabby DeBoer 12, Mesa Schultz 4, Lizzy LaFond 5, Aixa Kolofale 5, Rachel Muer 9, Grayce Mickelson 9

3-pointers: Bormann, Sondag, Kolofale, Muer 3, Mickelson. Free Throws: 14-16. Team Fouls: 11.

Roseau 85, Holdingford 65

The Roseau Rams used a 17-2 run in the first half, pulling away from Holdingford on its way to an 85-65 victory in the first game of the Grand8 Holiday Classic in Perham on Dec. 27.

Kacie Borowicz reached the 2,000 point plateau in the first half, needing seven points to get to the mark. She started slow, but quickly caught fire, finishing with 24 points. Katie Borowicz led all scorers with 27 points. Katie Borowicz scored 16 of her 27 points in the second half, helping jumpstart the Rams with a 15-4 run, ensuring their would be no comeback in the opener.

Holdingford played even with Roseau until midway through the first half when the Rams went on their 17-2 run, breaking an 18-18 tie. The Rams held a 45-30 lead at the break and continued to build on it in the second half. Holdingford hit a few shots late, closing the gap down to 20 points.

Mya Hough and McKayla Christianson finished with 10 points each as well for the Rams, who return to the Grand8 Championship game after winning the title last year.

Grace Gerads led the way for Holdingford with 16 points. Rachel Hellmann added 14, while Marissa Gerads finished with 10 points. Carolynn Becker added 13 in the loss as well.

The Huskers will take on Perham in the third place game on Dec. 28, while Roseau will tip off with Sauk Centre in a rematch of last year’s Class AA Championship game.

Roseau 45 40--85

Holdingford 30 35--65

Roseau-Victoria Johnson 6, Kacie Borowicz 24, Bria Dale 3, Katie Borowicz 27, Haley Ostgaard 2, Emma Waling 3, Mya Hough 10, McKayla Christianson 10

3-pointers: Katie Borowicz 2. Free Throws: 19-26. Team Fouls: 19. Fouled Out: None.

Holdingford-Rachel Hellmann 14, Grace Gerads 16, Marissa Gerads 10, Paige Soltis 2,  Kennedi Ehresmann 2, Carolynn Becker 13, Courtney Thielen 9

3-pointers: Hellmann. Free Throws: 22-27. Team Fouls: 19. 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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