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Beachy sets scoring mark as Perham runs streak to 21

Perham's Jenson Beachy works his way through traffic during the first half of Perham's 57-54 victory over Rockford. Beachy became Perham's all-time leading scorer in the victory. Jason Groth/FOCUS

A last second 3-point attempt by Rockford’s Nick Manthana was no-good and the Perham Yellowjackets held off the surging Rockford Rockets 57-54, picking up their 21st straight on Feb. 10.

The Yellowjackets had three players finish in double figures with Jenson Beachy leading the way. Beachy made school history when he hit a 3-pointer in the second half. He became the all-time leading scorer for Perham basketball, surpassing the mark of 1,563 set by Katrina Moenkedick in 2013. The junior guard sits at 1,567 career points after the victory.

“That’s an amazing feat for that young man,” Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. “He came up and thanked me for everything that I have done for him, but he has done so much for our program. To become the leading scorer of all time for Perham boys and girls is something amazing and something he will cherish for the rest of his life.”

Beachy finished the game with 20 points, 16 of them coming in the first half as Perham built up a 13-point lead.

Josh Jeziorski uses the glass for two points against Rockford.

The Rockets were hoping to spoil the Yellowjackets perfect season as they surged back in the second half. The Rockets slowly worked the lead down as they got the Yellowjackets into foul trouble. They attempted 13 second half free throws, making 11 of them.

After playing a strong first half, the Yellowjackets struggled in the second half when the Rockets came rallying back. Cresap said they panicked a bit and started to throw the ball around, but it was a situation the team needed to be in.

“They are not a bad team. We shouldn’t have let them back in the game, so we had the pressure situation at the end,” Cresap said. “But, when you can come away with a win still, we will take it.”

Josh Jeziorski got on track offensively in the second half, he finished with 14 points, 12 of them coming in the second half. Cresap said he was pretty active.

“We need our posts to be active and all of our posts were pretty active,” Cresap said. “We were taking some shots that we don’t need and were moving the ball real quick when we don’t need to. But, you haven’t seen that out of the ‘Jackets. I’m not too upset about that, this team is 21-0 and you are going to have times where they don’t play well.

“They are young kids and they are going to make mistakes. We, as coaches, have to do a better job of getting them prepared against that trap next time, and we will. I see them not making those mistakes again.”

Martin LaFond finished in double figures as well, ending the game with 13 points for Perham. Manthana led the way for the Rockets with 18 points, while Luke Pepin added 10.

Martin LaFond hits a 3-pointer as the Rockford defender tries to close out.

The Yellowjackets held a 12-point lead after a basket inside by LaFond, which gave Perham the 52-40 edge. Rockford closed on a 14-5 run, but it’s last second 3-point attempt clanged off the iron.

The 3-point victory is the smallest margin of victory for the Yellowjackets this year and one of the few times they have been pressured in the final minutes of the game during their 21-game winning streak.

“It’s a great step forward. We needed one of those close games where we had to scratch and claw,” Cresap said. “When you get to the point where you are 20-0, your target becomes relatively big. This team was going to come at us no matter what, because they are not going to be a team that’s easy to beat by anybody. We answered the call and got the win.”

The Yellowjackets return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 13 when they take on Hawley in Hawley at 7:30 p.m.

Finn Diggins swats a shot away during the first half.

RCK 18 36--54

PER 31 26--57

RCK: Blake Young 9, Nick Manthana 18, Luke Pepin 10, Kyle Calder 8, JJ Strumbel 7, Brock Desens 2

3-pointers:Young, Manthana 3, Strumbel.

PER: Jenson Beachy 20, Martin LaFond 13, Josh Jeziorski 14, John LaFond 2, Finn Diggins 6, Logan Richter 2

3-pointers: Beachy 4, M. LaFond.

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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