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Yellowjackets advance to Section 8AA Championship

Perham's Logan Richter drives the lane before dishing out an assist to Reid Moser during the second half of Perham's 60-36 victory over Warroad at Concordia-Moorhead. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Perham Yellowjacket boys basketball team has showcased they can find different ways to win during the 2016-17 season. While the 3-point shot wasn’t dropping for most of the Yellowjackets, it was Logan Richter who sparked the Yellowjackets in their 60-36 Section 8AA semifinal victory on March 14 at Concordia-Moorhead.

Richter finished with a team high of 14 points, hauled in eight rebounds, dished out three assists and recorded four steals in helping Perham to the victory. Richter helped the Yellowjackets stretch the floor in the first half. He scored 10 of his 14 points in the opening half, helping Perham build up a nine point lead.

“I feel like when the team is struggling, I want to be the man to step in and shoot the ball when we are kind of struggling,” Richter said. “I thought all of us were kind of struggling to shoot the ball. We kind of picked it up in the second half, which was nice to see. I’m kind of getting my groove back, which is nice.”

John LaFond drives and goes up for two.

Richter said the 3-point shot is where he goes when he isn’t feeling his inside shot. He said he didn’t think he was, despite hitting all three attempts from inside the paint. He said it makes the opposition have to come out and guard him.

Along with Richter’s team high of 14 points, Reid Moser poured in 13 points, while Martin LaFond added nine points off the bench. The Yellowjackets shot 30 percent from three, hitting nine of their 30 3-pointers.

“We had a lot of nerves, but it was good nervous energy,” Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. “I thought we might shoot the ball a little better than we did. We have been 54 percent from the 3-point line the last five games and we could hardly throw it close to the rim for awhile. They stayed with it. Our defensive pressure was good and I thought we turned it up a notch in the second half defensively. It’s a 24 point win and we didn’t shoot the ball well, so I’m very pleased.”

After both teams started the game with seven point runs, Richter sparked an 8-0 run with a 3-pointer, which ended with a 3-pointer from LaFond. However, Warroad hung around and cut the lead to four, before Richter hit his second 3-pointer of the half. Perham stretched it to 12 points, before a 3-pointer by Tyler Fox cut the lead to nine at the break.

The Yellowjackets made some second half adjustments, which paid dividends early in the half, helping them pull away from the upset-minded Warriors.

“We all agreed that we weren’t finding our groove at all. We had to go back in the second half, reevaluate what we were going to do to get the ball to go into the hoop,” Richter said. “Guards got ready to shoot the ball in the second half and the shots started to go in which was good to see.”

The Yellowjackets continued to apply the pressure defensively, turning it up in the second half on the Warriors. The Yellowjackets forced 21 turnovers, while committing just nine of their own. Along with the turnover battle, they controlled the glass, out-rebounding Warroad, 34-18, with Richter and Aaron Solberg controlling the boards with eight each.

“We did a nice job defensively and got some ball pressure. Our posts started to guard a little bit better,” Cresap said. “We still have to get better. Shooting is one thing, we will get that corrected, I’m not worried about that. We have to take care of the ball a little bit. Those young kids are going to make mistakes when you have that many sophomores on the floor at times. We are in the championship game now and that’s the good thing.”

Warroad cut the lead down to seven, 32-25, after a 3-pointer from Isaac Falk-Stoskopf. He led the Warriors with 16 points. Perham quickly responded with the next eight points. Solberg hit a jumper inside, which was followed by a steal and a lay-up by Jenson Beachy. Richter added an old fashioned 3-point play and the run was capped off by a floater from Moser.

Aaron Solberg hits the contested jumper.

The Yellowjackets continued to pull away from Warroad, outscoring the Warriors, 33-18, in the second half, securing their spot into the Section 8AA Championship game.

“They came into the locker room and said let’s forget about the shooting and let’s move on and get ready to play Breckenridge,” Cresap said. “That’s what we talk about, the next play and moving on. If you miss one, you have to be ready to do it. You have to do the other things. For awhile tonight, we didn’t do the little things right. Finally, we started to do that and stretched it out.”

The Yellowjackets improved their mark to 27-2 overall and have won 16 straight games. The Warriors finish the season with a record of 13-16 overall.

WAR 18 18--36

PER 27 33--60

WAR-Tyler Skarp 2, Phillip Ness 6, Tyler Fox 6, Tommy Vilayphone 4, Isaac Falk-Stoskopf 16, Clay Heppner 2

3-point goals-Fox 2, Falk-Stoskopf 4

PER-Aaron Solberg 6, Reid Moser 13, Jenson Beachy 8, Martin LaFond 8, Josh Jeziorski 2, John LaFond 2, Benson Nyhus 1, Ryan Roses 3, Logan Richter 14, Colton Kostynick 2

3-point goals-Moser 3, LaFond 3, Roses, Richter 2

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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