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Perham wins battle of HOL rivals

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Perham's Finn Diggins drives to the basket for two of his game-high 21 points as Perham defeated Hawley 81-61 in Hawley on Jan. 15. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 3
Perham's Jenson Beachy gets into the lane for two of his 19 points as Perham defeated Hawley 81-61 in Hawley on Jan. 15. Jason Groth/FOCUS3 / 3

On the basketball floor, it’s always nice to have options and the Perham Yellowjackets have plenty of them. The Yellowjackets had five players finish in double figures when they earned an 81-61 victory over the Hawley Nuggets in a Heart O’Lakes Conference boys basketball game in Hawley on Jan. 15.

Finn Diggins paced the Yellowjackets with 21 points, while Jenson Beachy added 19. Josh Jeziorski finished with 15 points, while Carter Cresap and Elijah Morris finished with 11 points each, pacing the Yellowjackets.

Carter Cresap hits the long jumper.

“Our intensity level was high the whole game. Yeah, we made mistakes, but you are going to make mistakes against a high-caliber team like that. Our kids regrouped,” Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. “They got it down to three points, but we blew it up to 15 just like that. We had a little foul trouble with Carter (Cresap) which set us out of sync but we held on to keep that lead and got everyone back in sync.”

One of the keys for the Yellowjackets was Diggins ability to spread the floor and attack the hoop in the win. Diggins finished with 21 points and nine rebounds for Perham. Cresap said his ability to drive will lead to kick out 3-pointers as well as finishing at the rim.

“He can do that (hit from the perimeter) but he needs to know the shot selection from the perimeter. He is a young kid,” Cresap said. “When he gets around the block, you have to be a strong kid to stop him. He made some great moves down there and our perimeter was outstanding against that pressure and all those changing defenses. I was really happy with the way we reacted.”

Jayden Carlisle and Jacob Vetter finished with 17 points each to lead the Nuggets, while Noah Glad added 11 points. Vetter had a strong second half and helped key Hawley’s comeback bid on Perham.

Perham held a 52-29 lead before Vetter and Carlisle worked the lead down to three points at 52-49. However, Perham clamped down on defense and quickly ran the score back up to double figures. Perham outscored Hawley 34-11 after Hawley cut the lead down to three points in the second half.

“Our defense was really solid. I thought Jenson (Beachy) did a nice job on Carlisle and made him work for everything that he got,” Cresap said. “Our two post players really guarded well. John LaFond and Elijah Morris came in on off the bench and did a good job defensively as well. It was an overall team effort. The little things by kids that come off the bench goes unnoticed some times. People don’t see the things that they do and that’s what we have to have, the depth off that bench.”

Perham improved to 11-1 with the victory while Hawley dropped to 10-2 overall on the season.

PER 42 39--81

HAW 32 29--61

PER: Jenson Beachy 19, Charlie Rasmussen 4, Josh Jeziorski 15, Finn Diggins 21, Carter Cresap 11, Elijah Morris 11

3-pointers: Beachy, Jeziorski 3, Diggins, Cresap, Morris 3. Free Throws: 2-4. Team Fouls: 10. Fouled Out: None

HAW: Mason Klevgaard 4, Gunnar Lawson 8, Jayden Carlisle 17, Chase Libak 2, Jacob Vetter 17, Hayden Grani 2, Noah Glad 11

3-pointers: Klevgaard, Carlisle 3, Vetter, Glad. Free Throws: 5-6. Team Fouls: 6. Fouled Out: None

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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