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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The Perham boys basketball team held a nine-point lead with 6:45 to go and held Hawley scoreless for the next four minutes on way to a 62-45 Heart O' Lakes conference victory. In the final seven minutes of the game, the Nuggets were limited to one basket. The win gives Perham sole possession of first place in the conference standings at 4-0. Hawley drops to 3-1. The Yellowjackets are 9-0 overall. Hawley's overall record is 5-3. Zach Gabbard stayed hot leading all scorers with 17 points, including a trio of three-pointers.
After two mismatches earlier in the week, the New York Mills girls basketball team got back on track with a five-point win at home versus Ashby. The game was only the second home game for the Eagle girls and they are undefeated in the Sports Center. The Eagles trailed in both halves and battled foul trouble. "Our girls didn't give up though," Head Coach J.J. Weller said. In the second half, Ashby was able to build the lead and get to 37-30 by driving the lane attempting to capitalize on the Eagles' foul trouble.
With a record of 2-4 and losers of three games in a row, after a first round Sebeka Holiday Tournament loss to the hosts, the season was looking a bit bleaker than expected in New York Mills. But the boys basketball team has reeled off three consecutive victories to hop back over the .500 mark to 5-4.
Detroit Lakes dominated their home pool and their own Invitational lapping up Bemidji, Park Rapids, Perham and Thief River Falls.
Shane Novak, of New York Mills and Jesse Hein, of Perham were the two local stars, both going undefeated, at the Barrel O' Fun Monsters of the Mat Invitational Tournament held in Perham over the weekend. Novak won all three of his matches on way to the top spot at 112 pounds. He was pitched against Perham's James Harlow in the semi-finals and the two wrestlers dueled each other to a 12-7 decision in Novak's favor.
The Perham boys basketball team got its eighth win in as many tries at Barnesville Friday night with a 54-26 victory. The Trojans might have left the gymnasium with acute cases of triskaidekaphobia, after only scoring 13 points in each half. Barnesville entered the game winners of four straight and Perham had come off back-to-back games against state-ranked opponents. A letdown was certainly a possibility. But Perham's defense, as it has all year, stymied the Trojans. Barnesville had been averaging over 60 points per game.
New York Mills wrestlers took most of the light and middle weights withstanding a late push by Osakis for a 40-28 victory. The Eagles won 8 matches to six and took fall totals pinning five wrestlers to the Silverstreaks' three. Major decisions were one each and decisions were also tied at two apiece. Tommy Selander and Shane Novak continue to be a rough one-two punch for opponents. Both wrestlers pinned their opponents to get the Eagles up early 12-0.
Coming off their first loss of the season and with no practices in between games the question in Yellowjacket minds was how would the girls basketball team return to action against Crookston. "We've got to rebound from a tough loss on Friday," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
There is nothing like a blizzard, some below zero temps and the calendar flipping to January to remind most of us that whole chipper, holiday spirit nonsense is for the birds and temporary, each year, at best. At first, I thought it was the Republicans and Democrats who were the least happy.
A top ten Class 2A ranked battle was all it was proposed to be as Perham knocked off a second consecutive ranked opponent with a 64-60 victory over visiting Pequot Lakes. Perham entered play ranked number five.