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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In three games, opponents have watched the defending state champions run away with the final score handily. This time the Crookston Pirates (1-1) made the long drive back north after a 59-33 defeat in Perham (3-0). The Yellowjackets have outscored their opponents 185-109 in their trio of victories to open the season.
The Perham Yellowjackets girls basketball team dropped their third game of the season at Wadena-Deer Creek by a score of 65-50. Perham kept within a 10-point margin until late in the game when Caitlin Volkmann hit her fifth three-pointer of the night to push the lead to 13. The clock did the rest of the work. "We continue to search for our first win and some consistent play," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
The New York Mills boys basketball team got roughed up early Tuesday night at Battle Lake as the Battlers jumped out to a 32-8 halftime lead kept outscoring the Eagles in the second half for a 65-28. Battle Lake's Tyler Ukkelberg had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Battlers. Alex Ukkelberg just missed a double-double of his own scoring 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Adam Snelgrove led the Eagles, scoring 16 points. The Eagles host Ashby tonight, Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7:45 p.m.
The Yellowjacket wrestling team cruised in their first dual of the season defeating the Wolverines in Deer Creek 64-12. Wadena-Deer Creek was playing from behind before the match began giving up four forfeits to the Jackets at 145, 152, 182 and 195 pounds. Cody Nylander, ranked #2 in AA, defeated Tony Reurink for the second time in a week, this time by fall at 2:53.
The New York Mills Eagles girls basketball team (1-1) bounced back from a rough opener to blow out Pillager 60-20 at home Tuesday evening. "Tonight was a good game for us," Head Coach JJ Weller said. "It was a total team effort." The Eagles got out to a 27-7 advantage early and took a 23-point advantage into the break up 36-13. "We did a better job running our offenses and looking for openings against Pillager's defense," said Weller. "We had our heads up and were making passes to who was opening and we took better care of the ball.
The #2-2A Yellowjackets got up early and cruised to a 72-44 victory over Staples-Motley (0-1) to open the home half of the schedule at Prairie Wind Middle School. The victory ups Perham's record to 2-0 keeping pace with #1-2A Pelican Rapids (2-0). Jordan Bruhn led Perham for the second consecutive game scoring 23 points.
The Perham basketball team will have their communal heads on a swivel watching for shots to the back as they drag around the target of defending state champions through a section they are not even favored to win. Arch rival Pelican Rapids, the only team to defeat last year's 31-1 ball club hold the #1 state ranking, while Perham sits right beneath at #2. The two clubs meet early in the season in Perham Friday, Dec. 16. The game coincides with the annual visit of Crunch, the Minnesota Timberwolves mascot in what should be an early must-see basketball game.
After a 2-4 start to last season, the New York Mills Eagles basketball team was on fire winning 16 of their final 19 games before running into the Ulen-Hitterdal Spartans and an early exit from Section 6A playoffs in the first round 59-56 in Ulen. The Spartans accounted for two of the Eagles' seven losses last season. They scored a 60-54 victory in NY Mills in early February. The Eagles will need to wait until the same week of February, on the ninth, to exact revenge. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa battled Norman County East for the section title last season.
The Yellowjacket girls bounced back after a blowout season opening loss at home to Staples-Motley, but fell four points short on the road in Pelican Rapids (1-1). The loss drops the Jackets to 0-2, with a big test coming up in their third game when they face undefeated Wadena-Deer Creek (3-0). "It was very encouraging to see the girls bounce back after a blowout loss at home Tuesday night to start the season," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
Both of head coach Sheri Ressler's girls and boys swimming teams have been young and have had seasons crescendo to success. "The boys team will be just like the girls--ready to pop," Ressler said. A young group of sophomores, many of who made a push for state meet entries last season are fully expected to make the next step and bring home state qualifiers come section meet time. Boys swimming is made up of only four sections, compared to eight for the girls, due to less numbers and teams.