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Summer Jam returns to Perham

Basketball fans hoping to get an early peek at the 2016-17 high school basketball will have an opportunity on Saturday, June 18 with the annual Perham Summer Jam.

The annual tournament will bring in 10 varsity teams, along with six junior varsity teams to the Prairie Wind Middle School Gymnasium and the Perham Area Community Center.

The tournament kicks off at 9 a.m. with games at the PACC and at 11 a.m. with games at the Prairie Wind Middle School.

The tournament has been in Perham for 18 years and was started to help eliminate some of the summer travel, according to Perham boys basketball coach Dave Cresap.

"It was a way to show our fans our team," Cresap said. "It has been well received at a low cost by teams from all over the state."

Once again, the Perham Summer Jam Tournament brings in a solid field. Along with Perham, the tournament will feature Battle Lake, Crosby-Ironton, Pine River, Staples-Motley, Annandale, Norman County East, Thief River Falls, Waubun and Pequot Lakes.

"We have been very lucky every year to bring in quality teams," Cresap said. "This year, we have seven to eight very high quality teams, which will make for a very good tournament."

Competing and hosting summer basketball tournaments has its advantages and helps them prepare for the upcoming season, according to Cresap.

"The biggest advantage for us going to summer tournaments is to compete against a variety of high level teams," Cresap said. "We get to see a lot of different defenses and offenses, which we need to adjust to. Many times, I have noticed our team getting closer as a group when we participate in these tournaments."

The tournament gives fans the opportunity to take a peek at some teams, who could be competing in the state tournament during the next season.

"Fans will get to see a high level of basketball as many of these teams have a legitimate chance at state in 2017," Cresap said.

The tournament is another staple of the busy Turtle Fest weekend, which resap said the event is a great addition to the Turtle Fest event and will have an impact on the community.

"It will generate a lot of money for the community. Some of the businesses will see a lot of additional revenue," Cresap said. "Some of the teams are coming in early and staying overnight. It's going to be a big thing for our community with everyone in town already for Turtle Fest."

The varsity tournament opens with Perham taking on Pine River at 11 a.m., while Crosby-Ironton squares off with Waubun. Thief River Falls squares off with Battle Lake at noon, while Annandale will take on Norman County East. Staples-Motley and Pequot Lakes earned opening round byes. The championship game is set for 6 p.m. at the Prairie Wind Middle School Gymnasium.

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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