Perham hit from deep and picked up key stops when they earned a 75-65 victory over the Roseau Rams on Dec. 28 at the Grand8 Holiday Classic in Perham.
It was a marquee win for the Yellowjackets, who have been searching for one of those the past few seasons. The Rams are the defending five-time Section 8AA champions and have usually found success in Perham at the Grand8 Holiday Classic.
Perham head coach T.J. Super said he was happy with the team’s effort and that started during practice on Thursday prior to the tournament. He said he had emphasized to the team that they need to practice better. They answered the call and it provided dividends in the victory over Roseau.
“I haven’t really been happy with our practice effort and then we started our new season after the break and our practices have been good and we had two games where our efforts have been good,” Super said. “Both of those games (against Alexandria and Roseau), we played really hard and when you do that, you can have success, whether it’s wins or losses.”
One of the keys for the Yellowjackets was their deep shooting in the win. Perham hit 10 first half 3-pointers and connected on 15 of their 32 attempts. Super said the girls love to shoot the 3-pointers. The Rams opened in a box-and-1 defensively on Greta Hillukka, who finished with 24 points, and Perham answered by sinking the outside shot. Katie Johnson finished with 23 points and Sydney Anderson hit for 19 points.
“We came out aggressive, talking and communicating,” Johnson said. “We worked super well as a team today and I thought that was our biggest factor.”
The Yellowjackets tried to slow down Katie Borowicz and did in the second half. She finished with 29 points, however, 23 of them came in the first half. Super said you can’t play normal defense against a player like her.
“We schemed against her, and she still scored a lot of points in the first half,” Super said. “She just pulls up for three everywhere. In the first half, our girls were worried about her getting in the lane, but we made an adjustment in the second half and I thought it went well. She is such a great player. Everyone you talk to says she is so much fun to watch. She is going to go bigtime division one and she is a great player, but I thought we did a good job on her in the second half. When they made adjustments, I thought we adjusted really well, too.”
Johnson said it’s a game changer for the Yellowjackets to have everyone contributing on offense for the Yellowjackets.
“Teams who score 70 points every game, we have to outscore them and play good defense, too,” Johnson said. “When everyone contributes, things go well.”
Johnson said it’s hard to describe getting into the zone the Yellowjackets were from beyond the arc in the first half. Anderson hit four 3-pointers, Johnson hit three, while Hillukka hit two and Mallory Belka hit one in the first half.
“It feels pretty good and just that teams can’t shut us down when we are shooting,” Johnson said. “We can’t always rely on it, and that’s what we talked about in the locker room. We can’t rely on all of our shots, and we have to work the ball inside, too. But, it's a pretty great feeling knowing we can knock those down.”
It was a back-and-forth first half between the Rams and the Yellowjackets. Perham set the tone with three straight 3-pointers, taking a 9-0 lead. Anderson hit the first two and Johnson hit another. However, Roseau rallied back and grabbed a 16-15 lead early in the first half. Perham regained the lead and stretched it back to eight, but Borowicz hit a late 3-pointer, closing the gap to four at the break, 44-40.
Both teams clamped down defensively and started to tire a bit in the second half. The second half featured four lead changes. Perham eventually grabbed it for good on a layup by Anderson, which made it 63-61. After a Roseau timeout, Hillukka drained a 3-pointer. Roseau answered, but Hillukka put the game away with another 3-pointer. Perham closed it out the free throw line, earning the 10 point win.
Johnson said this shows how much potential the Yellowjackets have going into the remainder of the season.
“It shows that we can beat great teams if we all work together and work well, too,” Johnson said. “Coming off the game today and beating a team like Roseau is a great gut check for us. It shows that if we work hard in practice and we go to our fullest potential, we have a great chance of making it somewhere this year. We can do it, as long as we believe it and work hard.”
The win improved Perham to 6-3 overall on the season and extended Roseau’s losing streak to three games. The Rams are now 7-3 overall on the season, going 0-2 for the first time in the Grand8 Holiday Classic.
Sauk Centre disposed of Alexandria 62-42 to capture the Grand8 Holiday Championship. Julia Dammann finished with 19 points and Tori Peschel added 14 points for Sauk Centre in the win. Maddie Nelson finished with 12 as well for the Mainstreeters.
The Yellowjackets return to action with the Crossover Classic on Jan. 4 when they take on Duluth East at 3:45 p.m. at the Hive in Perham.
ROS 40 25--65
PER 44 31--75
PER-Mallory Belka 6, Greta Hillukka 24, Sydney Anderson 19, Katie Johnson 23, Grayce Mickelson 3
3-pointers: Belka 2, Hillukka 4, Anderson 5, Johnson 4. Free Throws: 12-18. Team Fouls: 8. Fouled Out: None
ROS-Hannah Mooney 2, Julia Braaten 17, Faith Berger 6, Morgan Booros 2, Katie Borowicz 29, Shavonda Bender 4, Masynn Jannicke 5
3-pointers: Braaten, Borowicz 5, Jannicke. Free Throws: 4-5. Team Fouls 18. Fouled Out: None