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Defending Conference and Section champions Pelican Rapids holds off Perham girls

Vikings senior Greta Tollefson leads all scorers with 21 points.

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Perham's Sydney Anderson floats in the lane past Pelican Rapids Anna Stephenson. Anderson led the Yellowjackets with 17 points in a conference loss at Pelican Rapids Friday. Robert Williams / Tribune

Despite being ignored by the voters of the state rankings, the defending Section 8AA champion Pelican Rapids Vikings are back on another noticeable winning streak after defeating Perham 59-52 at home Friday night.

The Vikings are coming off a 30-1 season with their only loss coming at the state tournament. In 2019, Pelican Rapids finished 28-2. With a 5-0 start to this season, the Vikings have won 63 of the last 66 games.

Might be something the state poll voters want to check out.

The Perham Yellowjackets opened the season 3-0, including a big win over then-ranked No. 1AA Fergus Falls, but back-to-back games against state entrants from last year, Henning and Pelican Rapids, have produced two straight losses.

The Vikings used two big scoring runs in each half to build a double digit lead Friday night, but were forced to fend off a charging Jacket squad that would not go away in either half.

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After a deadlock at 12-12 with eight minutes remaining in the first half, Pelican Rapids went on a 16-5 run to lead 28-17 with 90 seconds until halftime.

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Greta Tollefson drives the lane while defended by Perham's Greta Hillukka during the second half of a 59-52 Pelican Rapids victory at home in Heart O' Lakes Conference basketball Friday, Jan. 29. Robert Williams / Tribune

Perham got back-to-back three-point baskets from Sydney Anderson and Mya Morris to close the gap to five points. Anderson launched a final shot at the halftime horn from half court that was good but the officials ruled it negated by the buzzer.

It appeared that Anderson got the shot off in time, but it was close enough to go either way on a live decision with no usable replay.

Out of the break, Perham clamped down on defense holding Pelican Rapids scoreless for the first seven minutes of play and Anderson put the visitors in front 30-28 with a field goal at the 10:50 mark.

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Perham's Grayce Mickelson and Pelican Rapids' Anna Stephenson battle for possession of the basketball in front of teammates Stella Raser (15) and Greta Tollefson (32) Friday night at Pelican Rapids high school. Robert Williams / Forum News Service

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Greta Tollefson drained one of her team-high four three-pointers at 8:42 to retake the lead 33-32 and Pelican Rapids would hold the advantage until the final horn.

The Vikings ramped up their defensive effort and used an 18-7 scoring run to lead 51-39 with 90 seconds left in regulation. Morgan Korf had a pair of threes and eight of her 11 points in that stretch.

Perham’s Katie Johnson was fouled on a made three and sank the freebie for a four-point play starting a Jacket 11-4 run to get back in the game down 55-50 on an Anderson three-ball with 30 seconds on the clock.

Pelican Rapids converted at the line late to seal the victory.

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Perham's Mya Morris dribbles between her legs to avoid a swipe from Morgan Korf on an attempted steal during the first half of play Friday night. Robert Williams / Forum News Service

Tollefson led all scorers with 21 points. Anderson paced the Jackets with 17 on five threes and a field goal. Perham made 11 threes in the game; Pelican had seven.

Greta Hillukka was in double figures for Perham with 11 points; Morris added eight.

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Korf scored 11 points for Pelican; Chloe Paulson had nine.

The Jackets shot 13-21 (62%) from the line; the Vikings made 14 of 22 (64%).

Pelican Rapids (5-0, 3-0) plays at Hawley (5-1) Thursday, Jan. 28. The Nuggets lost 69-54 at Barnesville (2-2, 2-2) Friday night to leave the Vikings as the only undefeated team in the Heart O’ Lakes Conference.

Perham (3-2, 2-1) travels to Roseau (0-3) Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Pelican Rapids 59, Perham 52

PER 23 29 - 52

PEL 28 31 - 59

PER - Sydney Anderson 17, Greta Hillukka 11, Mya Morris 8, Katie Johnson 6, Grayce Mickelson 5, Stella Raser 3, Willow Thiel 2.

PEL - Greta Tollefson 21, Morgan Korf 11, Chloe Paulson 9, Anna Stephenson 8, Ellie Welch 7, Allie Haiby 3.

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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