The Perham Yellowjackets used a stifling defensive attack on their way to a 48-25 victory over the Verndale Pirates on Nov. 28 in their season opener.
Both teams struggled to get their shots to drop in a typical season opener. The Yellowjackets finally gained some traction midway through the first half, using a 12-0 run to start the game.
“We knew Verndale was going to be a tough team, but we like to play fast. It was a little interesting at the beginning with first game jitters,” Perham’s Gabby DeBoer said. “We finally got on the board and then we started to get it going.”
DeBoer led all scorers with 17 points. She scored 15 of her 17 in the first half and scored nine straight points at one point in the opening half.
The Yellowjackets used a strong 2-3 zone in slowing down Verndale and keeping them off the board for the first 11 minutes of the game. While the Yellowjackets don’t have much height, they have length at the top of the zone, which gave Verndale problems throughout the game.
“We love our press and we like to put a lot of pressure on them and we like to make teams play fast and turn their offensive turnovers into our points,” DeBoer said of their defense.
However, one of the struggles the Yellowjackets had was getting to missed shots from the Pirates, allowing several second and third shot opportunities that the Pirates could not capitalize on.
“The girls communicated really well and I didn’t think we pressed the greatest in the first half but in the second half it was a lot better and that led to some transition points,” Perham head coach T.J. Super said. “We have to finish it with the board and we have to take that next step.”
Melissa Hammer led the way for Verndale with eight points, all coming in the second half. After the 14-2 run to start the game for Perham, Verndale cut it to seven points but Mesa Schultz hit an inside shot, followed by DeBoer’s 9-0 run, stretching the lead out to 25-7 and the outcome was never in doubt.
“We did attack the hoop. We also got off a fair amount of 3’s and we thought the first half ones were kind of jittery,” Super said. “Our girls didn’t do the basic things before they let it fly. In the second half, we took a lot of good 3-pointers where we had everything set, we just weren’t making them. I think we are going to shoot a lot more 3’s than we have seen the last couple of years. But, with the way we attacked, we have to do a better job of finishing and when we kick it, be ready to knock it down. We are probably going to score more points than 48 in a lot of games this year.”
Schultz added nine points, while Lacy Richter and Aixa Kolofale finished with six each. The Yellowjackets struggled from the charity stripe, hitting just two of their 11 attempts.
The Yellowjackets return home for their Heart O’Lakes Conference opener when they welcome the Barnesville Trojans to the PWMS gymnasium on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
VER 10 15--25
PER 25 23--48
PER-Kolbey Bormann 3, Lacy Richter 6, Lisa Meader 3, Gabby DeBoer 17, Mesa Schultz 9, Lizzy LaFond 4, Aixa Kolofale 6
3-point goals-Bormann, Meader
VER-Morgan Glenz 5, Alyssa Thompson 2, Haley Youngbauer 3, Molly Brownlow 2, Katie Johnson 3, Allison Olsson 2, Melissa Hammer 8
3-point goals-Youngbauer, Johnson