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Perham moves into the quarterfinals

Perham's Josh Jeziorski skies in for the layup for two of his 17 points in Perham's opening-round victory over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Kim Brasel/FOCUS

A second half run for the Perham Yellowjackets allowed the South Subsection’s No. 1 seed to pull away for a 49-27 victory in their Section 8AA boys basketball opener with Long Prairie-Grey Eagle at the Prairie Wind Middle School on March 8.

Jenson Beachy and Josh Jeziorski led the way for the Yellowjackets. Beachy finished with 22 points, while Josh Jeziorski finished with 17 points.

The Yellowjackets started slow in the first half against a team that was content with controlling the pace by moving the basketball around the perimeter. Perham head coach Dave Cresap wasn’t happy with the way the team came out of the locker room for their opening game, but was happy to come away with the win.

“I’m a little disappointed in our team spirit, team energy and our bench energy, but we came out with a win against a team that is holding the ball,” Cresap said. “They were stalling and that was the only way they could win. We were up 25 points and they were still holding the ball. It wasn’t a very exciting game. We persevered and we had some adversity we had to get through and we did. We advanced onto the next round, but we need to play a lot better.”

Perham's Charlie Rasmussen drives to the bucket.

The second half featured a 21-1 run out of the gate, erasing any thoughts of a Thunder upset. Jeziorski and Beachy attacked inside and out against the Thunder, along with the defense that pushed the issue. Beachy had 10 quick points, while Jeziorski added nine during the run.

“We had to go up and get them a little bit to try and speed up the tempo, because they were going to try and hold onto the ball against us,” Cresap said. “We got some turnovers and made some key shots. We were kind of lackadaisical. It may have been nerves, but we are happy we got through and can move to Concordia, but we have to play better.”

Jenson Beachy works inside an the ball rolls off his fingers and in.

The tenacious defense from the Yellowjackets continued throughout the game. They forced 19 turnovers. Beachy finished with six steals.

The Yellowjackets were efficient from the field, hitting on 47 percent of their shots. They were 16 of 34 from the field and 9 of 22 from the 3-point line. The Yellowjackets were without Martin LaFond, who dressed but did not play.

Beachy opened the game with a corner triple, which was answered by Brandon Fossland. Beachy followed with another trey and Jeziorski recorded an old fashioned 3-point play, giving Perham the lead for good in the first half.

Fossland led the way for the Thunder with 10 points. Blake Fossland finished with eight points.

Carter Cresap added six points in the win for Perham. He hit two of the nine 3-pointers in the game.

The Yellowjackets move to 27-0 overall and advance to take on East Grand Forks in the Section 8AA quarterfinals. The Green Wave cruised to a 79-63 victory over Bagley. The Green Wave are 16-11 overall, but have struggled away from their home gym. They are 5-8 on the road, while holding a 10-3 record on their home gym.

Other first round games featured Crookston defeating Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 67-56, Breckenridge rolled over Staples-Motley 84-49, Park Rapids Area needed double overtime to get by Wadena-Deer Creek 65-64, Hawley earned a 70-51 victory over Thief River Falls, Osakis defeated Barnesville 66-45 and Warroad edged out Roseau 70-62 in the tournament’s first upset by seeding.

The Yellowjackets and the Green Wave kick start a busy day of Section 8AA basketball at Concordia College at 2:30 p.m. on March 10. Osakis and Warroad follow at 4:15 p.m., while Park Rapids Area will take on Hawley at 6 p.m., and the day’s final game will feature Crookston taking on Breckenridge at 7:30 p.m.

LPGE 10 17--27

PER 18 31--49

LPGE: Lance Larson 2, Derek Loxtercamp 3, Blake Fossland 8, Gabe Abraham 3, Brandon Fossland 10, Ian Langford 1

3-pointers: Loxtercamp, Abraham, Brandon Fossland 2 Free Throws: 5-7 Fouls:11  Fouled Out: None

PER: Carter Cresap 6, Jenson Beachy 22, Josh Jeziorski 17, Finn Diggins 2, Charlie Rasmussen 2

3-pointers: Cresap 2, Beachy 5, Jeziorski 2 Free Throws: 8-10 Fouls: 6 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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