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Perham extends streak with wins over Holy Family Catholic, Esko

Perham's Charlie Rasmussen cuts through traffic and gets to the hoop for two points against Esko. Carter Jones/FOCUS1 / 3
Perham's Josh Jeziorski battles and gets to the basket against Esko's Peyton Wefel and Corey Kauma for two points during the first half of Perham's 62-52 victory over Esko. Carter Jones/FOCUS2 / 3
Perham's Finn Diggins gets inside the lane against the Esko Eskomos for two during Perham's 62-52 victory over Esko. Carter Jones/FOCUS3 / 3

A quick start helped the third-ranked Perham boys basketball team when they earned a 69-51 victory over Holy Family Catholic in the Winter Lakes Classic at Alexandria on Feb. 9.

The win gave the Yellowjackets their 18th straight victory and improved them to 19-1 overall on the season. The loss dropped Holy Family Catholic to 11-8 overall and continued their struggles of late. The Fire have dropped eight of their last 10 games overall.

Perham raced out to a commanding 41-18 lead, before the Fire started to chip away at the lead in the second half. The Fire had the lead down to nine points in the closing minutes, but Perham stretched back out to double digits in sealing the victory.

Carter Cresap led the way for the Yellowjackets. The senior guard was strong from beyond the arc. He hit six of his nine 3-point attempts and finished with 22 points. He was one of four Perham players to finish in double figures in the victory.

Josh Jeziorski finished with 15 points, while Jenson Beachy added 14 points. Finn Diggins closed the night with 11 points.

Perham controlled the boards and limited its turnovers in the win. Perham committed just nine turnovers and dished out 18 assists.

Jacob Konz led the way for the Fire. He finished with 21 points, all of them coming from the 3-point line. He hit seven of his 10 3-point attempts to lead Holy Family Catholic. He was the only player in double figures for the Fire.

The Yellowjackets return home for an HOL contest when they take on Barnesville on Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hive.

HFC 18 33--51

PER 41 28--69

HFC-Jacob Konz 21, Jacob Zay 2, Nick Hendler 7, Sam McNulty 2, Chris Bauer 1, Zyler Niece 2, Ryan Bowlin 5, Reid Stark 5, Seth Thompson 6

3-pointers: Konz 7, Hendler, Bowlin. Free Throws: 4-7. Team Fouls: 17. Fouled Out: None

PER-Jenson Beachy 14, Charlie Rasmussen 4, Josh Jeziorski 15, Finn Diggins 11, Carter Cresap 22, Elijah Morris 3

3-pointers: Beachy, Jeziorski 2, Cresap 6, Morris. Free Throws: 17-23. Team Fouls: 11. Fouled Out: None

Perham vs. Esko

Trailing by five points late in the second half, the Perham Yellowjackets turned up the intensity and closed on a 15-0 run and earned a 62-52 victory over the Esko Eskomos on Feb. 8 at the Hive in Perham.

“We played quality opponent for sure. They came after us, really got intense at us and guarded us for sure,” Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. “We started out like a fire but lost our intensity for 15-16 minutes and we were lackluster. (You have to) give them credit, they came after and got us. But, after that in the last six minutes of the game, I couldn’t ask for more. Our intensity level really rose defensively and to hold a team like that to 52 points, I’m very pleased.”

Carter Cresap sparked the run when he hit his only 3-pointer of the game, which cut the lead to two points at 52-50.

Carter Cresap launches and hits a 3-pointer against Esko. Carter Jones/FOCUS

It was followed by a pair of free throws from Charlie Rasmussen when he was fouled attacking the basket to even the score at 52.

Josh Jeziorski followed with a deep 3-pointer which energized the gymnasium some more, giving Perham the 55-52 lead. Jenson Beachy followed with an old fashioned 3-point play when he drove to the hoop and was fouled. The quick run seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the Eskomos, who were gaining momentum throughout the second half, despite playing without their leading scorer, Cam Berger.

“Carter (Cresap) hit a big one. We were down five and we could have been down seven or eight,” Dave Cresap said. “We had a lot of good plays during that stretch. The key, I thought, was our defense. Our defense was getting after them and making it tough for them to get shots off. Josh (Jeziorski) and Finn (Diggins) really took care of the boards in the last few minutes. We controlled the tempo of the game the rest of the way out.”

Beachy led the way for Perham with 16 points, while Rasmussen added 13. Jeziorski and Diggins finished with 11 points each in the home win.

Trevor Spindler paced the Eskomos with 18 points before fouling out. Peyton Wefel finished with 17 points as well.

Cresap said that was a type of a game the Yellowjackets needed to see as they get ready to finish out the regular season.

“You need those to wake you up a bit to know that you are not going to get easy games every night and they did that,” Cresap said. “I’m going to give them (Esko) a lot of credit. They are a nice team and they are going to be a tough out in their section. If we can find the intensity level a little bit sooner for longer, we will be a tough out too.”

The Yellowjackets were out-rebounded 21-14 and committed 13 turnovers in the win, but found success at the free throw line late in the game. Perham hit 11 of its 19 free throw attempts, but eight of their final 10 attempts at the line.

ESKO 30 22--52

PER 30 32--62

ESKO-James LeGarde 1, Jon Stodola 7, Peyton Wefel 17, Riley Fischer 4, Corey Kauma 5, Trevor Spindler 18

3-pointers: Wefel 3, Kauma, Spindler. Free Throws: 4-5. Team Fouls: 15. Fouled Out: Spindler

PER-Jenson Beachy 16, Charlie Rasmussen 13, Josh Jeziorski 11, Finn Diggins 11, John LaFond 2, Carter Cresap 9

3-pointers: Beachy 2, Jeziorski 3, Cresap. Free Throws: 11-19. Team Fouls: 9. 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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