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Late basket, strong defense helps Perham to 22nd win

Carter Cresap finished the game with two points, but it was the biggest two points as Perham held off Hawley 49-48 to remain undefeated on Feb. 13 in Hawley.

Cresap took a feed from Jenson Beachy and hit the layup with 25 seconds remaining in the second half, giving Perham the one-point lead.

The Yellowjackets’ defense rose to the occasion in the final seconds when Finn Diggins blocked a last second shot attempt, securing their 22nd straight win.

Josh Jeziorski finished with 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double. Jeziorski grabbed 10 of the team’s 18 rebounds. The Yellowjackets held a slight rebounding edge on Hawley, 18-16. Jenson Beachy added 10 point sin the game.

Along with the key block in the closing seconds, Diggins gave the Yellowjackets valuable minutes off the bench. He finished with eight points, grabbed a pair of rebounds, had two steals and dished out two assists.

It was the second time this year that the Nuggets battled the Yellowjackets tooth and nail. In the first meeting, a late second half run for Perham allowed them to earn an 80-69 victory in Perham.

Currently, Hawley holds the No. 1 seed in the North, while Perham holds the No. 1 seed in the south. Instead of the section seeding 1-16 as they have the past two seasons, they are seeding each subsection for the first round before crossing over in the second round.

Noah Glad led the way for Hawley, finishing with 15 points. He sunk a pair of 3-pointers in the loss. Donnie Loegering finished with 11 points and gave Hawley the lead at 47-46, before Cresap hit the late basket for Perham.

The Yellowjackets moved their season mark to 22-0 and 10-0 in the Heart O’Lakes Conference. The victory also clinched the HOL Conference title with two games remaining. Pelican Rapids sits in second with a 6-3 mark.

Perham returns home on Thursday, Feb. 15 for a 7:30 p.m. start against Thief River Falls.

PER 27 22--49

HAW 24 24--48

PER: Jenson Beachy 10, Josh Jeziorski 15, Martin LaFond 7, Carter Cresap 2, Finn Diggins 8, Ben Winkels 3

3-pointers: Beachy, Winkels. Free Throws: 5-8. Team Fouls: 9. Fouled Out: None

HAW: Donnie Loegering 11, Noah Glad 15, Carter Justesen 8, Jayden Carlisle 6, Chase Libak 4, Gunnar Lawson 4

3-pointers: Glad 2, Loegering, Justesen. Free Throws: 5-6. 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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