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Perham School
Perham Basketball (B)
West Central Area School
West Central Area Basketball (B)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Basketball (B)

Jackets return to court and get big win at WCA

By John George - Barrett, MN

The Yellowjacket boys basketball team took a huge step Tuesday night.  The game had little to do with extending their 11-game winning streak, which they did.  It had everything to do with a team moving on, finding some normalcy, and honoring a fallen teammate.

The Jackets were back on the court Tuesday night for the first time since junior Zach Gabbard suffered a heart attack Thursday during a game at D-G-F.  He’s still in critical, but stable condition at the U of M in Minneapolis.  They did more than honor him with a dominating 64-13 win in Barrett over West Central Area.

“Running out for warm-ups gave me the chills,” Jordan Cresap said.  “The support from both teams was unbelievable.  It was one of the most emotional experiences of my life.  We knew Zach was right there with us, and we played our hearts out in his honor.”

The emotions were running high, in the locker room, on the court, and in the stands.

“It took a little while,” Jordan Bruhn said of getting his emotions under control.  “The crowd really appreciated us.  It was the most Perham people I’ve seen on the road.  It was great.”

Mark Schumacher carried Gabbard’s jersey with him during the pre-game announcements, and the team kept the No. 3 jersey with them on the bench through the game.

“We felt him there,” Schumacher said.  “Coach Cresap said in the locker room, ‘Like the Marines, we don’t leave a man behind.  We’re going to put Zach on our backs and carry him the rest of the year.’  We truly did that tonight.  Everyone in that gym felt him there with us.”

The Jackets used that energy and dominated from the start.  Nine minutes into the game, they already had a 20-4 lead.  By halftime, they were up 37-7.  In the second half, they had a 50-9 lead with nine minutes to play when the running-time “mercy rule” went into effect.

“We talked to Steve, his dad, and his breathing went up during the game,” Bruhn said.  “He (Zach) knew we were out there for him.  And we knew he was with us.”

Things won’t get easier for Perham from this point forward, either.  They have another road game on Friday at Pelican Rapids (10-4), before finally getting to play in front of their home crowd on Saturday afternoon against Maple River (13-2) with a 4:15 p.m. tip-off.

Schumacher added one of the team’s motto’s, which helps keep them going, one game at a time.

“Just because you wear the same jersey, doesn’t make you a team,” he said.  “The players, the fans and the community are the team.  We’re all one.”

Jordan Bruhn 16, Mark Schumacher 12, Nick Tobkin 10, Mike Wiskow 10, Jordan Cresap 8, Dan Cavanagh 4, Sam Stratton 3, Jordan Anderson 1.
2’s—15/29; 3’s—9/23; FT’s—7/10.
Rebounds—40; Turnovers—7.

West Central Area
Colton Blascyk 2, Dakotah Kashmark 2, Drew Peterson 2, Neil Hyttsten 2, Christian Hammer 2, Jake Boedekker 2, Christian Thomasey 2, Beau Kashmark 1.
2’s-- 6/23; 3’s—0/16; FT’s 1/3.
Rebounds—20; Turnovers—19.

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