The Perham girls basketball team received a pair of timely stops and turned it into offense in a 41-32 victory over the Breckenridge Cowgirls on Jan. 24 at the Hive.

The Cowgirls closed to 30-29 after a pair of free throws from Jude Held. However, the defense came up big in the closing minutes. Grayce Mickelson and Katie Johnson turned a pair of steals into easy buckets, which sparked an 11-3 run at the end of the game.

“I thought we did a good job of rebounding and moving the ball,” Mickelson said. “We always talk about rebounding, boxing out and no turnovers and I think we finally turned that on tonight.”

Mickelson and Sydney Anderson led Perham with 11 points each. Lily DeBoer and Willow Thiel finished with six points each. The Yellowjackets struggled to hit from the outside. They hit just three of their 18 3-point attempts, but it was their defense that enabled them to take the lead late in the second half.

“It was really important because none of our shots really fell,” Mickelson said. “I thought our defense really turned that game around for us.”

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Mickelson said the team focuses on defense a lot in practice and she said it’s really helping the team win games of late.

“Going forward we will have more faith in our rebounding and turnovers, which have been a struggle for us,” Mickelson said. “I think it’s finally turning around and going forward we will be much better in those parts of the game.”

The Yellowjackets built up a 19-14 lead in the first half. The Yellowjackets maintained the lead throughout the second half, even as the Cowgirls gained some momentum from four straight free throws from Grace Conzemius and Held, which cut the lead down to one at 30-29.

Another key for the Cowgirls was the play of Riley Lorenz. She was able to hit a pair of 3-pointers and attacked the hoop in working the Cowgirls back into the game with a 3-point play before the free throws from Conzemius and Held. Lorenz finished with 11 points, which led all Breckenridge players.

After Perham stretched the lead back out on baskets by Willow Thiel, Mickelson and Johnson, Lorenz hit a 3-pointer, which cut the lead down to four, but the Cowgirls would not get any closer as Perham scored the game’s final five points for the 41-32 win.

The Yellowjackets improved to 11-6 with the victory and 5-2 in the Heart O’Lakes Conference. The Yellowjackets swept the season-series from Breckenridge with the win. They defeated the Cowgirls 63-58 in Breckenridge earlier in the season.

The Yellowjackets return home on Jan. 28 to take on East Grand Forks, before hosting Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Jan. 30 at the Hive. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

BRK 14 18--32

PER 19 22--41

BRK-Emma Ihland 4, Riley Lorenz 11, Jude Held 6, Camryn Kaehler 4, Grace Conzemius 7

3-pointers: Lorenz 2, Kaehler. Free Throws: 11-18. Team Fouls: 18. Fouled Out: Held

PER-Lily DeBoer 6, Stella Raser 2, Willow Thiel 6, Sydney Anderson 11, Katie Johnson 5, Grayce Mickelson 11

3-pointers: Anderson 2, Johnson. Free Throws: 10-14. Team Fouls: 14. Fouled Out: None

Crookston 52, Perham 49

The Crookston Pirates used a late free throw from Emma Borowicz to hold off a second half run from the Perham Yellowjackets on Jan. 23 in Crookston.

Borowicz finished with a game-high of 22 points to lead the Pirates. Hayden Winjum finished with 10 points in the win for the Pirates.

Willow Thiel led Perham with 13 points. Thiel left her mark on the game defensively as well. She recorded five steals, with many of them coming in the closing minutes.

The Pirates used a big second half run to grab an 18 point lead early, before Perham rallied back. Mya Morris hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to four, which was followed by a 3-pointer from Sydney Anderson to close the gap to one. However, Perham could not overcome a pair of turnovers in the closing seconds as the Pirates snuck out the home win.

Anderson and Katie Johnson finished with 11 points each in the game. The duo both hit three 3-pointers in the loss.

PER 19 30--49

CRK 24 28--52

PER- Mya Morris 3, Lily DeBoer 2, Stella Raser 4, Willow Thiel 13, Sydney Anderson 11, Katie Johnson 11, Grayce Mickelson 5

3-pointers: Morris, Anderson 3, Johnson 3, Mickelson. Free Throws: 1-6. Team Fouls: 16. Fouled Out: None

CRK- Halle Winjum 5, Dani Boyle 3, Emma Borowicz 22, Hayden Winjum 10, Kasey Cwikla 6, Gretchen Theis 6

3-pointers: Winjum, Boyle, Borowicz 5, Theis. Free Throws: 8-14. Team Fouls: 11. Fouled Out: None