Boys basketball: Jackets season ends in heartbreak after loss to No. 7 Barnesville
The Perham boys basketball team couldn’t overcome the adversity it faced in its quarterfinals loss to Barnesville on Monday night.
PERHAM – Beating a team three times in one season is one of the hardest things to do in sports. The Perham boys basketball team learned that the hard way on Monday night against No. 7 Barnesville.
In front of a packed Hive, the Yellowjackets were upset by the Trojans 48-43 in the Section 8AA quarterfinals. Perham completed the regular season sweep of its Heart of Lakes Conference rival earlier in the season.
“I am very disappointed for the young men,” Perham head coach David Cresap said. “We didn’t show up to match Barnesville’s intensity and they took it at us. They deserved to win because they were the better team tonight. We didn’t step up to the plate, so I’m really disappointed and heartbroken from this loss.”
The game started with a Barnesville 7-0 run. Perham answered with a 14-2 run and went up 14-9 halfway through the first half. The Trojans took the lead at 21-20 and a Tate Inniger bucket before the buzzer gave Barnesville a 23-20 advantage heading into the locker room.
In the second half, the Yellowjackets played without starting point guard Alex Ohm who went down with an ankle injury midway through the first. Losing Ohm was unexpected and his presence on the court was missed.
“It was the difference in the game,” Cresap said. “There are no questions asked. Ohm has a high IQ, scores points and defends well. We didn't have anyone else that could do that when he went down. Some of the other guys tried to step up and they tried hard.”
Senior Micah Thompson hated having his friend have to watch the second half from the bench and not be out on the court trying to win the game with him.
“Alex is a sniper and I love him to death,” he said. “He has a really high basketball IQ. He and I work very well together and our two-man game is really strong. Not having him on the floor really hurt us. Having it end the way it did and him not being out there for his final game, it really hurt.”
Perham got close but never regained the lead. Barnesville had an answer for every Yellowjacket bucket. In the final six minutes of the game, Perham scored three points and the Trojans finished scoring only six. Barnesville’s shots fell while the Yellowjackets felt like there was a lid on their rim.
“Barnesville has always come at us,” Thompson said. “They are always physical and go at it no matter what. They hit their shots tonight. They know how to defend us really well. Tate played like a man. Their shots fell and ours didn’t.”
Perham ended the game not having a player score in double figures. Thompson and Mason Happel led the way with nine points each. Soren Anderson finished the game with eight points and five rebounds.
Barnesville’s Tate Inniger was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points. Gannon Bolgrean finished his night with a double-double having 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Yellowjackets' biggest troubles were the shots within five feet of the hoop.
“We missed a lot around the rim.,” Cresap said. “We shot almost 25% from the twos and when you do that, it is going to be tough to win. Barnesville rebounded well and they were physical. They also got big shots from their roles players and that was the difference.”
The loss shocked everyone in the gym. Thompson knows that questions will be heading his team’s way about how and why they lost the game. He remembered a certain saying that one of his coaches told him back in the day.
“Sometimes it's just not your day,” he said. “What matters now is how we respond to this. We have to come back and own it. Yes, we lost, but it’s just one game and one moment in our lives. I always go back to what one of my coaches told me, ‘Yes, you can win and lose but no one is talking about that next week.’ It’s going to hurt me, the coaching staff and the seniors on this team for a long time, but we know that we left it all out there. That’s all you can ask for at the end of the day.”
After the game, Cresap had an uplifting message for his players and a message about the future of the basketball program.
“My message was to keep their heads high,” he said. “The sun will come out tomorrow. The younger kids have to decide if they want to compete to get better and put in the hard work needed for next year. We thanked all the seniors because they are a special group. A couple of them I am really close to and it hurts me a lot to see the season end like this. I am proud of them and everyone on this team.”
As Thompson’s Perham basketball career came to a close, he finished as one of the best to put on a Yellowjacket uniform. Earlier in the season, he became one of five players in program history to reach 1,000 career points. He will miss the good times he had with his teammates on and off the court.
“These four years, I’m not going to remember the losses,” he said. “One of my favorite moments was taking the team to my family’s place in New London-Spicer for a weekend. That was a blast. Going to state last year was an awesome experience I got to share with my teammates also.”
Thompson and his teammates had developed a close bond with each other over the past four years. They became more than teammates to him.
“I’ll remember everything with these guys and how they changed me as a person,” he said. “My teammates impacted my life. At the end of that, that’s what makes high school sports so amazing. You win, lose and learn, which is a part of life. From cross country to basketball, it hurts to see it come to an end but I’m going to remember those guys and the family we built up called the ‘armed forces.’”
PER 20 23- 43
BAR 23 25- 48
PERHAM- Alex Ohm: 5 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals; Micah Thompson: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal; Evan Kovash: 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist; Soren Anderson: 8 points, 5 rebounds; Jacob Daniels: 6 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists; Mason Happel: 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals; Ashton Detloff: 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
BARNESVILLE- Zach Bredman: 3 points, 3 rebounds; Gannon Bolgrean: 14 points, 10 rebounds; Braeden Bredman: 3 points, 4 rebounds; Owen Riddle: 5 points, 3 rebounds; Carson Hagen: 3 points, 3 rebounds; Tate Inniger: 18 points, 6 rebounds; Wyatt Sutter: 2 points, 2 rebounds