The Perham Yellowjackets were without two seniors but still easily advanced to the quarterfinal round of Section 8AA tournament play on Thursday, March 18.
No. 2 seed Perham dispatched the No. 7 seed Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines 59-30 at The Hive in Perham.
Perham seniors Elijah Morris and Caden Schossow are in quarantine for COVID-related issues, according to head coach Dave Cresap. "We came away with a big win with being short a couple guys," Cresap said. "We had to win this game for them so they can maybe get back in the tournaments. We were doing a lot for them tonight."
One of the players who stepped up for the Yellowjackets was junior Chas Melvin, who scored 12 points in the game and kickstarted the Yellowjackets offense in the first half.
"Chas had one of the best games of his career at the varsity level," Cresap said. "He gave us a nice lift and did a lot of things offensively and defensively, so we give him a lot of credit. It was good for him because we will need him down the stretch."
Senior Finn Diggins also had another great night for the Yellowjackets. He scored 20 points and electrified the fans with three dunks in the game. "It's so fun looking back at your fellow classmates and they're going crazy," Diggins said.
Despite his standout performance, Diggins is first and foremost a team player and said the victory was a great team win overall. "We started a little slow - we knew the defense they were going to throw at us, but we just weren't hitting right away," Diggins said. "But once we got going, we kept going."
The Yellowjackets capitalized on the Wolverines 26 turnovers in the game, and they also grabbed 36 total rebounds to WDC's 17 rebounds. Perham also had a lot of second chances to score as they nabbed 19 offensive rebounds.
The Yellowjackets will still be without Morris and Schossow when they play No. 6 seed East Grand Forks, who defeated No. 3 seed Thief River Falls 69-61 to advance to the next round. The Yellowjackets host the Green Wave, which had a regular season record of 8-11, at The Hive Saturday, March 20, at 2 p.m. The winner will advance to the semifinal round of the tournament.
PER 29 30 - 59
WDC 12 18 - 30
PER-Micah Thompson 10, Chas Melvin 12, Soren Anderson 9, Andrew Smith 3, Finn Diggins 20, Jacob Daniels 3, Gabe Thompson 2
3-pointers: Melvin 2, Anderson, Smith, Diggins, 1. Free Throws: 6-14. Team Fouls: 11.
WDC-Blake Vittetoe 2, Zach Shaw 7, Tony Kreklau 2, Teshe Loer 2, Aiden Larson 8, Payton Rondestvedt 3, Jack Motschenbacher 3, Peyton Church 3
3-pointers: Larson 2, Rondestvedt, Motschenbacher, Church, 1. Free Throws: 3-3. Team Fouls: 13.