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Yellowjackets 'refuse to lose' to Hawley

Eli Beachy celebrates Perham's playoff victory over Hawley at Concordia College. Photos by Robert Williams/FOCUS.

MOORHEAD — Typically more busy on the defensive end, Eli Beachy led all scorers with 21 points and fueled a Perham comeback to knock the No. 4 Hawley Nuggets out of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year in a thrilling 66-55 victory Saturday night at Memorial Auditorium in Section 8AA south subsection boys basketball action.

“We were going to win this game,” Beachy said. “Rebound, defend, believe, and refuse to lose. I just kept telling my teammates, 'refuse to lose.'”

“If you’re the Yellowjackets in the playoffs there is a ton of pressure,” Tyler Glines said. “We answered the call. We just came really ready to play today.”

Beachy’s play was crucial in the first half; he led all scorers with 12 points and kept Perham’s confidence level and temperament stable in a true showing of senior leadership when it mattered most.

Hawley controlled the first half of play and the scoreboard to a 33-28 lead at the break.

Perham has made a habit of coming out of halftime on big scoring streaks, but it was the Nuggets who burst out of the locker room on an 8-0 run, spurred by Ben Ellefson, to lead 41-28 three minutes into the second half.

Ellefson and Perham’s Hunter Salathe banged hard in the paint all game long.

“I’m glad my dad’s a chiropractor,” Salathe said.

“I’ve got to give props to Hunter Salathe," said Beachy. “The way he D’d up that second half against Ben Ellefson, Ben’s one of the biggest, physical specimens I’ve ever seen and Hunter took it to him in the second half and didn’t give him nearly as much as he normally goes for.”

Ellefson recorded a double-double scoring 16 points and hauling in 14 rebounds to lead the Nuggets.

The Yellowjackets answered with a 9-0 scoring run cutting the lead to 41-37 with 11 minutes to play.

The two teams exchanged baskets until a Glines’ three-pointer and a basket by Salathe tied the score at 49 with five minutes to go.

Two lead changes ensued: a free throw by Aaron Regnier gave the Nuggets their final lead of the game 50-49.

Beachy drained a three with 4:30 on the clock putting Perham up 52-50 and the Jackets outscored the Nuggets 12-5 down the stretch to close out the victory.

Sam Muer had a big bucket that capped off two Perham breakaways off of turnovers in the final minute. Salathe rebounded a Beachy miss on a layup for a 60-54 lead. On the ensuing play, Muer rebounded a Bahls’ miss and scored to a rowdy reception from the Perham faithful seeing an eight-point lead with time dwindling on the clock.

Beachy had six assists and six rebounds to go with his game-high 21 points. Glines scored 19 points and added seven rebounds. Salathe scored a dozen. Nick Bahls had 10 points for the top-seeded Yellowjackets. Sam Muer scored four points.

Jordan Harms added 11 points for Hawley.

Perham was 8-13 from the arc (62 percent), which was key in working over Hawley’s 1-3-1 zone, a strategy that defeated the Yellowjackets twice in the regular season. The Nuggets were cold from long range making only three of 19 attempts (16 percent).

Perham’s starting five played all 36 game minutes and played relaxed, confident and prepared for a team that had their number coming into Saturday night.

“We prepared so hard, probably the hardest we’ve ever prepared for any team,” Glines said.

In the nightcap, Ryan Bruggeman scored 51 points before fouling out in a losing effort, as the No. 2 Barnesville Trojans hung on to defeat No. 3 Pelican Rapids 102-98 in a wild shootout.

Just when Barnesville thought it was going to cruise to a Class 2A, Section 8 quarterfinals win over Heart O’ Lakes rival Pelican Rapids, the Vikings made sure the victory would be anything but easy.

The Trojans hung on for a 102-98 win, but the final six minutes were dramatic thanks to Pelican Rapids senior Ryan Bruggeman.

Bruggeman led all scorers pouring in 51 points – 34 coming in the second half – for the Vikings (18-8).

Barnesville led 41-30 at halftime and the lead ballooned to a 22-point advantage at one point in the second half.

“No lead is safe against a team that has Ryan Bruggeman,” Barnesville head coach Todd Henrickson said. “They never quit and we knew they wouldn’t. I would like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not.”

With 4:15 left to play, Pelican Rapids senior Nathan Sillerud connected for 3-pointer to cut the Trojans’ lead to 83-73. A minute later, the lead shrunk to 88-83 after Bruggeman hit a 3-pointer and stole the inbounds pass for an uncontested layup.

“I’m not surprised,” Barnesville senior guard Michael Strand said. “Ryan Bruggeman is a great player and we knew he’d lead his team back into the game. He did exactly that. … Scoring 51 points is unreal.”

Strand scored a team-high 27 points – 22 in the second half – for Barnesville (21-5). Junior guard Ben Sauve added 24 points for the Trojans.

“Even when they were making their run we kept attacking them,” Henrickson said. “They didn’t give up.”

In the north subsection, the seeds played out, as well. No. 1 Crosby-Ironton defeated No. 4 Park Rapids Area 58-50 and will take on No. 2 East Grand Forks in the north subsection final after the Green Wave defeated No. 3 Crookston 65-49. Both games were played at Bemidji State University, the home of the coming Section 8AA championship.

Perham is two wins away from a fourth consecutive 8AA title.

Forum New Service's Tom Mix contributed to this report.


HAW 33 22 — 55

PER  28 38 — 66

HAW: Ellefson 16 (14 rebounds), Harms 11, Teeples 8, Omberg 6, Leaf 4, Tusow 4, Olson 3, Regnier 3.

PER: Beachy 21, Glines 19, Salathe 12, Bahls 10, Muer 4.

Barnesville 102, Pelican Rapids 98

PELICAN RAPIDS (18-8): Bruggeman 15 17-20 51, Haugen 3 0-1 6, Gorton 4 1-1 10, Sillerud 5 1-3 14, Mackner 1 3-4 5 Taylor 4 1-3 12.Totals: 32 23-32 98.

BARNESVILLE (21-5): Strand 9 6-8 27, B. Sauve 9 4-7 24, N. Randklev 0 2-4 2, Martz 8 2-3 22, Ishaug 2 8-12 12, B. Randklev 5 1-4 11, G. Sauve 1 2-2 4. Totals: 34 25-40 102.

Halftime: B 41, PR 30. 3-point goals: Strand 3, B. Sauve 2, Martz 4, Bruggeman 4, Sillerud 3, Gorton, Taylor 3. Total fouls: PR 29, B 24. Fouled out: Bruggeman, Haugen, Gorton Mackner. Rebounds: PR 30 (Sillerud 9), B 27 (B. Sauve, Martz 6). Turnovers: PR 16, B 13.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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