Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
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MINNEAPOLIS - A season with an undefeated start and a nightmare in the middle came to a dreamy and storyline conclusion, as the Perham boys basketball team, in their first ever trip to the state tournament, head back to Otter Tail County state AA champions. All season, Perham has adapted to their opponents, most of the time, ending in blowouts.
Today's AA state championship game features the Perham Yellowjackets (30-1) from Section 8 versus the Rochester Lourdes Eagles (24-7) of Section 1. The Eagles defeated Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 45-37 in opening round action and advanced to the title game after a four overtime marathon victory over Redwood Valley, 48-42. The Yellowjackets cruised in their opening round match-up with Virginia winning by 17 points, 57-40. The semifinal round pitted Perham against a defensive-minded squad from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.
MINNEAPOLIS - With junior floor leader Jordan Bruhn out of the game after committing his fifth foul in the first overtime, it was up to senior Nick Tobkin to lead the Perham Yellowjackets to the AA state championship game. "We were behind, and we thought, 'we gotta keep our composure,'" Tobkin said.
The Rochester Lourdes Eagles (23-7) and Redwood Valley Cardinals (22-7) played to a stalemate at the half of the opening game of the AA semifinals. The score remained knotted for four overtime periods. Lourdes was finally victorious 48-42 in quadruple overtime. The Eagles will face the winner of Perham (29-1) and Waterville-Elysian-MINNEAPOLIS - Morristown (29-2), a game originally scheduled for 8 p.m., but delayed to a 9 p.m. tip-off. Redwood Valley is led by Mike Busack and JT Radel. Both average 22 points per game.
The Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers (29-2), from section 2, stand in the way of the Perham Yellowjackets' (29-1) first ever trip to the AA state championship basketball game. The semifinal game will be played at Target Center, in downtown Minneapolis, Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m. The Buccaneers are making their first trip to the state tournament since 2002. This is their third appearance. Ranked #7, just behind Perham at #6, the Bucs defeated their opponents by an average of 30 points this season.
MINNEAPOLIS - Zach Gabbard made an appearance and was announced with the team at the beginning of Perham's state quarterfinal game versus Virginia at Williams Arena. Watching in his wheelchair, Gabbard was shown, in person, exactly how the Yellowjackets have been playing in his absence as Perham won big 57-40, the team's first-ever state tournament victory. Jordan Cresap and Nick Tobkin were both hot from the field in the first half. Perham took command early, led by Jordan Bruhn who scored the game's first bucket 45 seconds in.
MOORHEAD--Perham pride and Jacket fever rippled through Concordia College's Memorial Auditorium as the Yellowjackets boys basketball team (28-1) counted down the final seconds to a 55-44 Section 8AA championship victory and the school's first ever trip to the state tournament. Led by monster efforts from Mark Schumacher and Jordan Bruhn, the Yellowjackets controlled a tightly contested ball game seeing an early 20-8 lead dissipate as the Thief River Falls Prowlers (21-8) hung tight with the inspired Yellowjackets. Season success and the fulfillment of a year-long goal hung in the balance of
Perham (27-1) will see a similar foe in the Thief River Falls Prowlers (21-7) Friday night, at 6:30 p.m., inside Memorial Auditorium on the campus of Concordia College. The teams will battle for the Section 8AA title and a trip to the state tournament. The Prowlers mirror the Yellowjackets in playing a stingy defense and on offense will look to get the ball inside to senior center Jonathan Milks. Earlier in the season, the main duty of guarding the paint was that of Perham center Mark Schumacher.
After missing the 8AA sub-section semifinal with a bout of pneumonia, Perham guard Jordan Bruhn returned with a Herculean effort to lead the #6 ranked Perham Yellowjackets to a 64-48 sub-section final victory over #4 ranked Pequot Lakes in Park Rapids. Bruhn scored 20 points, but more importantly, ran the Perham offense and controlled the ball making the Patriot's full-court pressure a non-factor in the game. "He's a gamer," said Perham Head Coach Dave Cresap. Bruhn would have no talking about his condition or any accolades about his play.
Sub-Section Finals Tales of the Tape 8AA South #1-Perham Yellowjackets versus 8AA South #2-Pequot Lakes Patriots At Park Rapids Middle School, Tuesday, March 15, 7 p.m. Overall records Perham 26-1 Pequot Lakes 24-4 Conference records Perham 11-1, Heart O' Lakes Co-Champions with Pelican Rapids Pequot Lakes 9-1, Mid-State Co-Champions with Detroit Lakes Section 8AA records: Perham 14-1 Pequot Lakes 11-1 Tuesday night records Perham 11-0 Pequot Lakes 6-2 Points for: Perham 66.1 Pequot Lakes 68.7 Points against: Perham 39.1 Pequot Lakes 50.0 Streak: Perham Won 14 Pequot La