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Yellowjackets rebound in victory over Mills

Perham's Mesa Schultz absorbs the contact from New York Mills' Karli Kawlewski on her way to the basket. Jason Groth/FOCUS

It was a tale of two halves for the Perham girls basketball team when they knocked off New York Mills  56-42 in a non-conference girls basketball game on Jan. 8 in New York Mills.

The Yellowjackets labored through a plodding first half. The Yellowjackets trailed by two points and were fortunate to be down by just two if it wasn’t for five first half 3-pointers.

Kolbey Bormann lines up and drills a 3-pointer.

However, they stepped up their intensity on both ends of the floor and took control of the game in the second half. Rachel Muer hit back-to-back corner 3-pointers, giving Perham the lead for good midway through the second half. Muer finished with 11 points, all of them coming in the second half for Perham. Gabby DeBoer led all scorers with 18 points, while Lisa Meader finished with 10 points in the win.

Perham head coach TJ Super was worried about a potential let down after playing well in a victory over Pequot Lakes and a hard-fought overtime loss to Thief River Falls. He said the team talked about it, but it was hard to avoid.

“The first half was, more than anything else, it was us. It was a letdown whenever we had the ball and when we were on defense we weren’t playing the intense basketball that we can play,” Super said. “The second half we played a lot better. We made a couple more shots, but it was the intensity. We were a lot better.”

The Yellowjackets struggled with New York Mills’ Rhianna Roberts and Tiffany Thompson. Roberts finished with 16 points, but scored 13 of them in the first half. Thompson scored all eight of her points in the first half.

Defensively, the Yellowjackets were more aggressive and stepped up the intensity, which eliminated several fast break opportunities from Mills in the second half. The Yellowjackets were were aggressive on the glass as well, limiting the Eagles to just one possession.

Gabby DeBoer drives to the basket for a lay-up.

“In the second half, we cleared boards a lot better. We had three times more defensive rebounds in the second half than we did in the first half,” Super said. “Part of that was them missing shots because we were communicating better. The other part was we were moving around a lot and flying around a lot better, too.”

The teams traded the lead throughout the game, but the Yellowjackets finally took control in the second half. Muer, who didn’t take a shot in the first half, hit two baseline 3-pointers, giving Perham the lead for good at 37-35. It sparked a 14-2 run for the Yellowjackets. Muer hit two 3-pointers during that run, while DeBoer had four points inside while Aixa Kolofale, while Lisa Meader hit a pull-up jumper as well.

The Yellowjackets were able to stretch the lead out 14 points, closing with a 56-42 win.

The Yellowjackets improve to 7-4 overall on the season and return home for a Heart O’Lakes Conference battle against Pelican Rapids on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

PER 27 29--56

NYM 29 13--42

PER-Kolbey Bormann 6, Lacy Richter 3, Lisa Meader 10, Gabby DeBoer 18, Mesa Schultz 6, Aixa Kolofale 2, Rachel Muer 11

3-pointers: Bormann 2, Meader 2, Muer 3. Free Throws: 3-6. Team Fouls: 16. Fouled Out: None

NYM-Harley Wurst 3, Tiffany Thompson 8, Rhianna Roberts 16, Karli Kawlewski 2, Kenna Salo 3, Emilee White 2, Madalyn Erp 8.

3-pointers: Wurst, Thompson 2, Roberts 2. Free Throws: 9-17. Team Fouls: 11. 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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