The sixth-ranked Perham boys basketball team dug deep and found another gear when they earned a 73-60 victory over the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels at the Hive on Feb. 6.
The Yellowjackets have now won 17 straight games and 24 straight at their new gymnasium, which has become a house of horrors for the opposition.
The Rebels led 31-28 at the end of the first half, but the Yellowjackets stepped it up a notch on the defensive end and came out on fire offensively, outscoring the Rebels by 16 points.
“DGF is a very good team. We came out a little flat which I thought we would after so many games in a short period of time, but that is no excuse. They came out and shot the ball really well and we didn’t guard as close as we should have, but they still made the shots and you have to give them credit,” Perham head coach Dave Cresap said. “The second half, we must have found a burst of energy because we were really, really good. Defensively, we took away most of their looks and we wore them down a bit because they couldn’t get those open looks. Our defense picked up and we had some guys make some shots. We did a lot of good things in that second half.”
Finn Diggins led the Yellowjackets with 22 points, while Charlie Rasmussen added 16 points. The Yellowjackets received a pair of big games from Landon Stevens and Gunnar Anderson. They finished with 14 points each. Stevens was five of eight from the field with four rebounds, while Anderson grabbed 11 boards for Perham.
“Landon Stevens was a monster in the second half. He got on the boards and played great defense on No. 3 (Ian Mickelson) and he scored some points for us which is a big bonus for us,” Cresap said. “Anderson had 11 rebounds plus 14 points. Those guys did it tonight, but we still have to find that other depth we need. We need a couple more guys to come off that bench and give us that spark. We have to find that in the next few weeks.”
The Rebels came out shooting the ball well in the first half and built up some momentum from deep. They hit 11 3-pointers for the game, five in the first and six in the second. Jacob Strand and Ian Mickelson hit four each. Jacob Strand finished with 16 points to lead the Rebels. Aiden Leach finished with 13 points, Mickelson added 12 and Owen Leach finished with 11. However, Perham’s ability to attack the glass, limited DGF to one shot throughout.
“They are a really good team and they are well-coached. They were really prepared to play us,” Cresap said. “They are a scary out in the playoffs and they are going to be really good in the playoffs. It’s just a matter of who gets them. If they are shooting well, they will beat anybody. Like anyone else, if you don’t shoot well, you are not going to beat many teams. They were very well prepared, very athletic, very well-coached, they shoot it well and I’m impressed with their team to get a win against them.”
Diggins scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half and Cresap said a couple of assistants challenged Diggins to attack the glass at the half. Diggins responded with a big second half. He hit five of six from deep and was eight of 15 from the field.
“He got challenged to go to the glass and he did that pretty well,” Cresap said. “His three-ball was good tonight, his free throws were another issue and we have to get that straightened out, but he was a monster in other ways. With him playing well, we are playing well.”
A growing trend for the Yellowjackets has been their ability to protect the basketball. Facing another stingy defense, the Yellowjackets committed just six turnovers. In fact, both teams were great with the basketball, DGF committed just six themselves.
The Rebels built up a six point lead in the first half but Perham came right back with an 8-0 run to take a 20-18 lead. Perham eventually stretched it to 26-20, but the Rebels responded with an 11-2 run to close the first half with a 31-28 lead.
Strand sank a 3-pointer to make it 42-40 in the second half, but Perham responded and DGF would never lead again. Diggins scored eight straight points, followed by a layup by Anderson to make it 50-42.
DGF cut it back to six but Stevens hit a 3-pointer bringing the lead back to nine points at 53-44. The Rebels tried to close the gap, but could only get as close as eight points as Perham closed it out with a pair of nice outlet plays which led to a basket by Stevens and Anderson, before a final basket from Diggins.
The loss dropped the Rebels to 15-5 overall and snapped their five-game winning streak. The Rebels are 6-3 in the Heart O’Lakes Conference and hold a 10-4 mark against Section 8AA opponents.
The Yellowjackets improved to 17-0 overall and 24-0 in the Hive. The victory moves Cresap one win closer to career win No. 600. He sits at No. 599 after the victory. The first chance at win No. 600 will be a tough one when the Yellowjackets take on Osakis on Feb. 8 at the Alexandria Winter Lakes Classic at 6 p.m. The Silverstreaks are 18-1 and have won 10 straight. Their lone loss on the season was a 57-53 defeat to Albany on Dec. 28.
DGF 31 29--60
PER 28 45--73
DGF-Drew Coalwell 5, Ian Mickelson 12, Owen Leach 11, Aiden Leach 13, Jacob Strand 16, Colby Schreiber 3.
3-pointers: Coalwell, Mickelson 4, A. Leach, Strand 4, Schreiber. Free Throws: 3-4. Team Fouls: 19. Fouled Out: Mickelson
PER-Charlie Rasmussen 16, Finn Diggins 22, Landon Stevens 14, Gunnar Anderson 14, Elijah Morris 7.
3-pointers: Diggins 5, Stevens 3, Anderson, Morris. Free Throws: 17-27. Team Fouls: 9. Fouled Out: None