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Yellowjackets and Cowboys to settle the score for the 8AA Championship

The two best teams in the Heart O’Lakes Conference are also the last two teams remaining in Section 8AA. The Perham Yellowjackets (27-2) and the Breckenridge Cowboys (25-2) will settle the score with the Section 8AA Championship on the line on Friday, March 17 at Concordia-Moorhead at 7 p.m.

The two Section 8AA rivals have combined for 52 wins compared to just four losses. The Yelowjackets and the Cowboys have been the class of the section and the Heart O’Lakes. The two teams split the regular season meeting with each team winning on the other’s home court, meaning something will have to give when these two teams meet again on Friday.

"If you're a basketball fan how can you not be excited for Friday night?" Breckenridge coach Arly Ohm said in the Fargo Forum. "We got two teams that have consistently done well. Both teams are going to leave it on the floor and let it go the way it is. I think it's going to be a heck of a matchup come Friday night."

The Yellowjackets dropped the first meeting, 65-62. Steven Lipp, Noah Christensen and Derek Dahlgren led the way in that one. Lipp finished with 22, Christensen added 17, while Dahlgren finished with 14.

Jenson Beachy led the Yellowjackets with 20 points. Reid Moser finished with 13 and Carter Cresap had 12. It was an early test for both teams since it was the second game of the season, coming down to the wire.

However, the second meeting was a historic night for the Yellowjackets. Beachy became the team’s all-time leading scorer and first ever varsity boys basketball player to record his 1,000th point in Perham’s 64-48 victory over Breckenridge in Breckenridge. Beachy finished with 22 points, while Moser added 17.

“Breckenridge is good and they are going to come hard at us with pressure, which is my guess,” Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. “They have seen us operate against a zone, so they might throw their matchup zone at us. They will throw a lot at us. Their pressure will come and jump you and try to turn you over and get easy baskets. We guarded them pretty well last time, but they are super athletic. They are going to be very good.”

The Yellowjackets took advantage of the defensive pressure from the Cowboys, getting them into foul trouble during the second meeting. Carson Yaggie and Steven Lipp both fouled out. Dahlgren led the way with 17 points, while Lipp ended with 11.

The Yellowjackets led by five, 30-25, before breaking the game open in the second half. The Yellowjackets outscored the Cowboys, by 11, 34-23, on their way to the road win. One of the keys in the victory for the Yellowjackets was the ability to handle the pressure that Breckenridge applies. The Yellowjackets struggled with it in their first meeting, but prepared for it in the second meeting.

These two teams both went 11-1 in the Heart O’Lakes Conference, sharing the conference title. Besides the conference losses to each other, Perham dropped a game to state-ranked Esko, while Breckenridge dropped its opener to Fergus Falls, who is in the Section 8AAA Championship game.

“These are two teams with 52 wins between them and only four losses,” Cresap said. “It’s going to be quite the war with two teams that are that good. We have to be ready. It’s going to be an interesting game.”

The Yellowjackets and the Cowboys will settle the score for the final time this season on Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m. at Concordia-Moorhead.

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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