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 No. 1 team in Class 2A, the Braham Bombers (25-1) kick off Section 7-2A playoffs tonight as they take on the Rush City Tigers (8-13) in Braham. The two teams met in Rush City in January with Braham winning 75-41. February's meeting in Braham was far uglier with the Bombers surpassing the century mark in a 102-41 blowout. Braham defeated Rush City for the third time this season.
Perham senior post Katrina Moenkedick surpassed her sister Elisa as Perham's all-time girls basketball leading scorer in the last game of her career at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, a 65-51 loss to the Rebels. "I was really upset that we lost," Moenkedick said. "People were congratulating me but I wasn't even happy about it, really." Since the game, the sting of the playoff loss has subsided somewhat and it never hurts to have a close sister to share a similar fate. Elisa and Katrina are two years apart and played together in Perham beginning in Katrina's freshman year.
The Perham Yellowjackets finished their regular season with an impressive record of 23-2 after a 62-32 win over Wadena-Deer Creek and a 44-38 victory over a tough Ulen-Hitterdal team. "I thought we played a very good second half against Wadena on Friday night at Concordia," Perham Head Coach Dave Cresap said. "The kids have always and continue to play hard and that is a very positive going into the playoffs." Perham played both games without starting point guard Jordan Bruhn.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Perham sophomore Jayden Cullen and junior Zach Langendorfer have set a new precedent for Perham boys swimming and diving by making a Yellowjacket return to the state meet held at the Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus. The big pool and large crowd that seems to crunch the swimmers can be quite a sight for a first-time visit. "It's the nicest pool I've been to," Cullen said. Cullen finished 21st in the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries in a time of 5:20.02.
AUDUBON -- The New York Mills Eagles fought back from a 19-point second half deficit but Lake Park-Audubon scored the final eight points of the game to hang on for a 67-53 Section 6A play-in game victory. "I knew they weren't going to give up," Lake Park-Audubon Head Coach Lucas Isaacson said.
Finals ST. PAUL - Shane Novak used the method he has all tournament and leaves St. Paul the Class 1A 113-pound state champion by a 4-1 decision over James Goman of Trinity at River Ridge. Throughout all of Novak's matches at this year's tournament he attacked and shot for a leg against every opponent. He scored early and held on to that lead for the duration of each match. Novak was in control of the finals, as well.
ST. PAUL - Brandon Lueders, Luke Sailer and Ty Haverland all went down in defeat in the first round. Each of Perham's first three wrestlers had draws that matched them up with No. 1 or No. 2 ranked state wrestlers. At 126 pounds, Brandon Lueders (33-9) fell behind 8-0 to No. 2 ranked Eric Madson (40-3) of Hutchinson. Lueders, who typically wrestles best as the match goes on was unable to mount a comeback falling 8-2 by decision. Madson was defeated by John Weeding of Dawson-Boyd Lac Qui Parle eliminating Lueders from entry in the consolation bracket. No.
ST. PAUL - No. 1-ranked Shane Novak (39-1), a state runner-up last year, had no problem advancing to the second round of the Class A state wrestling tournament at 113 pounds. Novak jumped out to leads of 4-0 after the first period and 11-0 after the second en route to an impressive 12-2 victory over Andrew Schmidt (25-10) of Lake City. Novak has a rough draw as he advances to face No. 2-ranked Quinten Berres (39-1) of Kimball Area. The winner will face either Bryce Bruner (33-10) of Minneota or Louie Sanders (34-5) of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial. The No. 3 and No.
With Pelican Rapids defeating Barnesville handily 74-43 and deadlocking the Vikings and Perham Yellowjackets at the top of the Heart O' Lakes Conference, both top teams will wrap up their regular seasons with non-conference opponents. Pelican Rapids, (22-3) which has not been tested since a 51-48 victory over Perham in Pelican Rapids Jan. 27, will face the undefeated No. 3-1A Battle Lake Battlers (23-0) in Pelican Rapids tonight, Friday, March 2. The Vikings have won 15 straight games.
Becky Stoll sank five three-pointers and a game-high 19 points, while Katrina Moenkedick's 17 points made her Perham's all-time leading scorer, but the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels got a strong effort from three players in the Rebels' 65-51 8AA playoff victory. Mandy Mercil led the No. 4-seeded Rebels (19-8) with 18 points and 13 rebounds, recording the games only double-double. Sierra Senske and Kinzie Molstre each scored a dozen for D-G-F. According to Perham Head Coach John Gullingsrud, shooting and rebounding were the big keys to the game.