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Perham holds off late surge from Breckenridge

Perham's Jenson Beachy fights inside and goes up for two against Breckenridge. Beachy finished with a game-high of 23 points for the Yellowjackets. Photos by Kim Brasel/FOCUS

With the Breckenridge Cowboys surging in the second half, the Yellowjackets relied on a reliable trio. Jenson Beachy, Martin LaFond and Josh Jeziorski came up with key buckets in the second half and closed it out at the free throw line, earning a 69-62 victory on Feb. 2 in Perham.

Beachy finished the game with 23 points, while Josh Jeziorski finished with 18 and Martin LaFond added 17.

“We played really well. We defended really well in the first and second half,” Jeziorski said. “Our shooting was very good. Jenson Beachy and Martin LaFond came off really strong. Our inside posts were doing really well.”

Josh Jeziorski gets the reverse layup to drop.

The Yellowjackets needed a big night to counteract the potent duo of Noah Christensen and Derek Dahlgren. After a silent first half, Christensen caught fire attacking the basket in the second half and getting to the free throw line.

“Those two are absolutely fantastic players. I know they are really a big part of their team,” Jeziorski said. “If we stop those two, we have a good chance at winning, like we did tonight.”

Christensen finished with 26 points, 22 of them in the second half. He went to the free throw line 13 times in the second half. Dahlgren finished the game with 15 points, scoring 12 of them in the second half.

“We knew they were going to come on a run sometime, but we had to buckle down and be poised,” Beachy said. “We had to dig down deep, keep moving forward and play our ballgame.”

Martin LaFond cuts through the Breckenridge defense.

Knowing Breckenridge was going to make a run at them, Beachy said their ability to play together as a team got them the win. He added they played their hearts out and that’s what got them the win.

Jeziorski extended the Perham lead in the second half with six straight points, bringing the lead to 35-21. However, that’s when Breckenridge started to claw back at them. The Cowboys started attacking the glass, finishing and getting to the free throw line. Christensen hit a basket, drew the foul and hit the subsequent free throw, cutting the Perham lead to 38-35.

Martin LaFond stepped up with a key 3-pointer, followed by a Carter Cresap basket, which extended the lead eight, 43-35.

“Martin is an outstanding player. Everytime he shoots it, I believe it’s going in even though I’m rushing in for the rebound,” Jeziorski said. “I have a lot of confidence in him.”

After a pair of Christensen free throws, Beachy responded with a 3-pointer, which stretched it back to nine, 46-37.

However, the Cowboys had one more surge left. Breckenridge whittled the lead down to two points, yet sealed the game at the free throw line.

Both Jeziorski and Beachy stated it was a great atmosphere to be involved with.

“It was a great atmosphere, both sides of the ball had fans and they all came ready to be loud,” Beachy said. “It was fun to be a part of, especially with a great battle with Breckenridge.”

Perham has little time to think about the win, they return to action with Fargo Oak Grove on Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Concordia-Moorhead. The win improved the Yellowjackets to 18-0. It’s the best start in school history for the Yellowjackets. Breckenridge had its 15-game winning streak snapped with the loss. Perham improved to 8-0 in the HOL, while Breckenridge fell to 4-3.

BRK 19 43--62

PER 29 40--69

BRK: Andrew Kram 7, Noah Christensen 26, Caden McGough 12, Derek Dahlgren 15, Justin Marsh 2

3-pointers: Kram, Christensen, McGough 2, Dahlgren 2. Free Throws: 16-24. Team Fouls: 14. Fouled Out: None

PER: Jenson Beachy 23, Martin LaFond 17, Josh Jeziorski 18, Carter Cresap 8, Finn Diggins 3

3-pointers: Beachy 5, LaFond 3, Cresap. Free Throws: 10-14. Team Fouls: 17. Fouled Out: Logan Richter

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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