As the clock wound down, Perham boys basketball head coach Dave Cresap walked up and down his bench and high-fived his players and shared a hug with his coaching staff. Cresap became the seventh active coach in Minnesota to record win No. 600 with a 65-58 victory over Osakis on Feb. 8 in Alexandria.
“It’s a weird feeling. It’s quite an accomplishment, but I don’t want to make a big deal out of this situation. It’s important that we stay focused on the kids. They are an important part of this,” Cresap said. “Without good kids and without good coaches around you, you never reach 600 wins. I have been blessed and honored to be the head basketball coach in Perham. For 25 years,I hope I represent the town well. I’m just a proud older man that’s honored to be the Perham boys basketball coach.”
Cresap said he is honored to be one of seven active head coaches to achieve the feat of 600 wins in their coaching career.
“It all comes back to what kind of players you have. I’m a guy who likes to work hard and some of this comes down to hard work,” Cresap said. “I’m not afraid to do that for these kids. Some days I’m not a very fun person to be around, but they have to know I love them. I’d do anything for them now or 20 years from now. I think they know that deep down, but some days it doesn’t seem like that. It’s quite an accomplishment, but without my backhand man, (Brian Schwantz), who has been with me forever. Without him around all these around, I know it wouldn’t happen.”
Just like after he hit his 500th career win in Barnesville, the Perham head coach was quick to credit his players and his coaching staff for helping hit this career milestone.
“This is a team that has really exceeded our expectations. I knew we would be pretty good, but I didn’t think we would be able to go 18-0 with the schedule we have this year and doing things that we have. We have developed a winning culture,” Cresap said. “When they get on the floor, led by a couple of guys, they expect to win. If we play well, like we have been, it will take a pretty good team to beat us. It goes back to being proud of these kids and our program. All the way down to second grade. We have built a pretty good thing here in Perham and I hope the community continues to support us and the young men. They have established something many in the state would like to have. They just continue our tradition and we are going to continue it and as long as I’m coaching, we are going to keep going.”
Cresap said it was special and tears were flowing out of his eyes when he was able to share the moment with his coaching staff.
“I got pretty emotional about it because these guys have been my friends and not only that, they have been my coaching colleagues for many years,” Cresap said. “We do a lot of things on-and-off the court. They are always there to back me, no matter the situation. I can’t thank them enough. They know I care about them. Sometimes you get caught up in all of this hoopla and you don’t think people enough. I have to keep thanking our coaches and our players all the time.”
The Yellowjackets trailed just once in the game as Osakis hit the first bucket of the game, but Perham responded with a 9-0 run and was able to hold off several Osakis surges throughout the game.
Finn Diggins finished with 22 points, 15 of them coming in the second half for Perham. Elijah Morris finished with 17 points, while Charlie Rasmussen added 13 points.
“I thought our kids game-planned to perfection. We did everything right. I thought Rasmussen was a warrior on Daniel Savageau. He scored some baskets but it doesn’t come down to just Charlie, it comes down to our team defense,” Cresap said. “We had some guys really step up. Elijah, who was struggling with his 3-pointer, knocks a 3 at a big time and then Landon (Stevens) catches a reversal and hits a three and Finn said that was enough and took over a bit. He got the rebounds and probably four-to-five steals in the closing minutes.”
Morris was key in the first half for Perham. He has been struggling from the outside, but he was able to attack the basket and get to the hoop in the first half. He scored nine of his 17 in the opening half. He also hit a timely 3-pointer which helped stretch Perham’s lead to seven in the closing minutes of the game.
“If he (Morris) is able to get on the dribble and get to the rim, he is going to be hard to guard. He is going to find that rhythm and that shot. We are going to let him keep shooting it and he will find his way out of it,” Cresap said. “When he hits that big one he leaves the gym knowing confidently that he can make it and that’s what we needed from him. He had a couple at the rim that he finished in the first half and then he made some good passes when he went into the lane.”
Diggins continued to save his best for the second half. He found his way to the hoop during a pivotal stretch in the second half. Osakis cut the lead to one, but Diggins drove and stretched it back to three. Later in the half, he was able to close out the Silverstreaks with a drive and a foul, bringing the lead to 58-51.
“He is a monster. He hasn’t even reached a portion of his potential because he is going to be a man-child to handle,” Cresap said. “Some college is going to be lucky to get him if he decides to go that route. I’m going to be there to support him because not only is he a good basketball player, he is a tremendous young man, like everyone else on this team.”
Daniel Savegeau finished with 17 points for Osakis in the loss. Bauer Klimek caught fire in the first half, hitting five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
Perham improved its season mark to 18-0 with the victory, while Osakis dropped to 17-2 overall.
“We did a lot of things against a really, really good basketball team with only one loss,” Cresap said. “How can you be much prouder of the young men, I’m really proud of them.”
The Yellowjackets return to their old home on Feb. 11 when they take on Barnesville at the Prairie Wind Middle School gymnasium at 7:30 p.m.
PER 32 34--65
OSK 27 31--58
PER- Charlie Rasmussen 13, Finn Diggins 22, Landon Stevens 8, Gunnar Anderson 5, Elijah Morris 17
3-pointers: Diggins 3, Stevens 2, Anderson, Morris Free Throws: 7-11 Team Fouls: 6 Fouled Out:None
OSK-Luke Imdieke 2, Kobie Lara 9, Carter Grove 5, Luke Staloch 5, Bauer Klimek 17, Carter Rost 2, Daniel Savegeau 17
3-pointers: Lara, Grove, Klimek 5, Savageau 2 Free Throws: 3-3 Team Fouls: 14 Fouled Out: None
Please check back at www.perhamfocus.com/sports as we will have more from today's game against Osakis.