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Perham responds to adversity in win over Detroit Lakes

Perham's Jenson Beachy drives to the basket in the first half against Detroit Lakes' Ben Stearns during Perham's 60-58 victory over the Lakers. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 2
Perham's Josh Jeziorski goes to the hoop strong for a bucket in the first half against Detroit Lakes. Jeziorski finished with 15 points in the victory for the Yellowjackets. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 2

Detroit Lakes came out with energy and a fast start, but the Perham Yellowjackets had the final answer as they held off Detroit Lakes 60-58 at the Hive on Jan. 10.

The Yellowjackets found themselves in an early 14-point deficit with all the momentum on the side of the Lakers. However, Perham steadied the ship defensively and increased its intensity  on that side of the ball, holding the Lakers to 36 points the rest of the way.

Jenson Beachy finished with 18 points for Perham, while Josh Jeziorski added 15 points. It countered and spoiled a big night from Jacob Bettcher and Gabe Hanninen. Bettcher finished with 20 points, but his desperation 3-pointer from half-court hit off the top of the backboard, sealing the win for Perham. Hanninen finished with 14 points and hit on four of his seven 3-point attempts.

Charlie Rasmussen drives the lane against Detroit Lakes.

Perham head coach Dave Cresap said the Lakers came out and got after them in building the 14-point lead. Instead of calling a time-out, Cresap said the team needed to face some adversity in a different way that they haven’t faced this year.

“If they would have scored one more basket I would have called that first time out and got them organized,” Cresap said. “But, we chipped away and got it to 23-14 and got rolling a bit. We hung in there, kept battling and finally got that lead.”

The Yellowjackets grabbed its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Elijah Morris, which was part of a 21-3 run in the first half.

Cresap said one of the reasons they fell behind was they lacked intensity on defense at the start of the game.

“When we turned up that intensity, they turned the ball over and we got a couple of easy baskets,” Cresap said. “Our level of intensity made them shoot some tougher shots, because the first shots they got where wide open and they have some good shooters and they are a good team. After we got after it, intensity wise, we turned the table.”

It seemed like déjà vu all over in the second half when the Lakers turned the tables and regained the lead. They were eventually able to stretch it out to 46-41, but the Perham defense came up big and helped spark a 10-0 run giving Perham a 53-49 lead.

“We kept battling and made the shots that we had to. We got some of our guys playing downhill and going to the rim,” Cresap said. “We made some good free throws and hit some big shots when we needed. In the last lot of years, I couldn’t be more prouder of a team. We could have laid down and died when we were down 23-9. People don’t understand, how proud I am of this group. They kept battling and got a big win against a really good team. Last year, we beat them they went on a 10 game winning streak. Watch out whoever plays them next. They are well-coached, shoot it very well and they are long. They are going to beat some teams and I’m very proud.”

Perham stretched the lead, but could not quite shake the Lakers in the closing seconds, until a half-court shot attempt before the buzzer by Bettcher was no good.

The Yellowjackets continued to protect the basketball as they committed just eight turnovers in the win, while forcing 12. They controlled the boards as well, out-rebounding Detroit Lakes 28-20.

The Yellowjackets return to conference play with a key test when they take on the Hawley Nuggets on Jan. 15 in Hawley.

DL 30 28--58

PER 32 28--60

DL-Gabe Hanninen 14, Drew Markuson 2, Jacob Bettcher 20, Max Gunderson 5, Ben Stearns 5, Tate Kerzman 6, Nate Cihak 6.

3-pointers: Hanninen 4, Bettcher, Stearns, Cihak 2. Free Throws: 4-4. Team Fouls: 18. Fouled Out: None.

PER-Jenson Beachy 18, Charlie Rasmussen 8, Josh Jeziorski 15, Finn Diggins 6, Jahn LaFond 1, Carter Cresap 9, Elijah Morris 3.

3-pointers: Jeziorski, Morris. Free Throws: 16-23. Feam Fouls: 11. Fouled Out: None

Perham vs. Barnesville

Josh Jeziorski dropped in 27 points as the Perham Yellowjackets earned a 67-49 victory over the Barnesville Trojans on Jan. 8.

Barnesville which has been a tough place for Perham to play continued that trend in the first half as they held the Yellowjackets to 29 points. However, Perham was able to pull away in the second half and secure the road win.

Jeziorski was perfect from inside the 3-point line and connected on four 3-pointers on his nine attempts from beyond the arc. Finn Diggins added 17 points, while Jenson Beachy finished the game with 15 points.

Adam Tonsfeldt led the way for Barnesville with 11 points, while Grant Inniger added eight points. Kellen Hinsz and Hunter Zenzen added seven each.

PER 29 38--67

BAR 19 30--49

BAR-Kellen Hinsz 7, Grant Inniger 8, Adam Tonsfeldt 11, Sam Askegaard 4, Jason Hendrickson 2, Brooks Martinson 6, Kaden Zenzen 4, Hunter Zenzen 7.

3-pointers: Hinsz, Inniger 2, Tonsfeldt 3, Askegaard 1, Martinson 2. Free Throws: 2-5. Team Fouls: 12. Fouled Out: None.

PER-Jenson Beachy 15, Charlie Rasmussen 5, Josh Jeziorski 27, Carter Mulcahy 1, Finn Diggins 17, John LaFond 2.

3-pointers: Beachy 2, Jeziorski 4. Free Throws: 7-11. Team Fouls: 11. Fouled Out: None

Perham vs. East Grand Forks

Josh Jeziorski poured in 33 points as the Perham Yellowjackets closed out the inaugural Crossover Classic with a 79-61 victory over East Grand Forks at The Hive in Perham on Jan. 5.

Jeziorski came out on fire in the first half, helping the Yellowjackets take control early against the Green Wave in the Section 8AA battle. The two teams boasted 7-1 records entering the contest, but it was Perham who elevated its game to another level.

Perham raced out to a 22-9 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers from Jeziorski and Carter Cresap. Cresap’s 3-pointer capped off a 10-0 run with the other seven points coming from Jeziorski.

Jeziorski followed with a 3-point play the old fashioned way, helping Perham extend its lead to 13. Perham continued to build on its lead throughout and held a 21-point lead late in the first half after a 3-pointer from Jeziorski. Jeziorski hit three from beyond the arc in the game and was 13 of 20 shooting overall. He hit on 10 of his 12 shots from inside the 3-point line.

Jeziorski scored 25 of his 33 points in the first half and it was Finn Diggins, who took over in the second half for Perham.

Diggins scored seven straight points as Perham built up a 54-31 lead early in the second half. Perham maintained its lead throughout in the second half as they improved to 8-1 overall. While the Yellowjackets didn’t shoot as well as they have from beyond the arc in the past, they were strong in attacking the basket. Perham hit on 24 of hits 35 shots from inside the 3-point line, with many of the makes coming from within the restricted area.

Perham held a rebounding edge 33-22 with Diggins and Jeziorski leading the way. Diggins collected eight boards, while Jeziorski finished with seven.

Diggins ended the game with 16 points, while Cresap added 14 points and Charlie Rasmussen finished with 11 points. Cresap dished out a team-high six assists. John LaFond handed out four of his own.

Perham was strong with the basketball, committing just eight turnovers, while forcing 14 from the Green Wave.

Nathan Willet and Sam Votava paced the Green Wave with 15 points each. Julian Benson added nine points.

EGF 29 32--61

PER 47 32--79

EGF:Nathan Willet 15, Colton Dauksavage 8, Sam Votava 15, Tanner Campos 8, Tyler Aamodt 6, Julian Benson 9

3-pointers: Willet 4, Votava 4, Campos, Aamodt. Free Throws: 5-11. Team Fouls: 15. Fouled Out: None

PER: Jenson Beachy 2, Charlie Rasmussen 11, Josh Jeziorski 33, Finn Diggins 16, Carter Cresap 14, Elijah Morris 3.

3-pointers: Jeziorski 3, Cresap 2, Morris. Free Throws: 13-18. Team Fouls: 15. 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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