After a lack-luster performance in their home opener, Perham boys basketball coach Dave Cresap knew he had some work to do with his young squad. In their 2nd home game on Tuesday night against Breckenridge, it looked like their work in practice last week paid off. A big performance by senior Sam Muer, and a solid all-around effort helped the Yellowjackets to a 79-72 win.
“We had to change their attitude’s in practice,” Cresap said. “We don’t have the biggest team. So we’ve go to work our tail’s off to compete with team’s like this.”
The Cowboys had a decided size advantage, with 6’7” Nate Lorenz and 6’5” Eric Conzemius on the front-line. Perham countered with 6’1” Andrew Johnson, and a slew of post players, including Zack Tellinghuisen, Matthew Siira and Aaron Solberg.
“I thought A.J. set a good tone for us early,” Cresap said. “Our post guys had a tough job tonight. Lorenz is pretty good.”
Lorenz finished the night 9-for-13 on 2-point field goals, to go with 10 rebounds, 7 coming on the offensive glass.
But Perham countered with their outside game. Jaden Anderson hit 3 early 3-pointers, and Jensen Beachy added two of his own, as Perham used a 12-0 run to open a 23-11 lead. The two would combine for 5 3-pointers in the 1st half, as the Jackets took a 37-21 lead into the break.
“I thought our guards played supurb tonight,” Cresap said. “Jensen is pretty good for an 8th grader. He handles himself really well.”
Anderson would go 5-for-10 on 3-pointers to finish with 21 points. Beachy added 16.
But the 2nd half belonged to Sam Muer. The senior scored 20 of his 30 points in the 2nd half as Perham held off a Brckenridge run. Muer was 9-for-14 from the field, and 12-for-14 at the line, to go with 10 assists.
“We need to play like that all the time,” Muer said of his team’s energy. “We really tightened up our defensive effort.”
A 3-pointer by Anderson to start the 2nd half gave Perham their biggest lead, 40-21. The Jackets still led 50-33 when the Cowboys started making their move behind Lorenz. He scored 21 of his 28 points in the 2nd half.
Breckenridge went on a 9-0 run, with 5 points coming on a single possession, as they picked up 3 offensive rebounds off missed free throws that followed a pair of made baskets.
Ashton Hegge jumped in for Breckenridge, scoring 14 of his 17 points in the 2nd half. But it was Lorenz who made a big 3-pointer to cut Perham’s lead to 2, 57-55, with 6:15 to play.
From there, it was Muer who took over. He dished out a pair of assists and scored on a drive to the hoop to make the score, 63-58. He would go 8-for-8 at the line over the final 1:42 to help secure the win.
“In our 1st game, I scored like 4 points on 4 shots,” Muer said. “That’s no way to lead this team. I don’t always have to score like this, but I have to bring the energy and drive every night for us to be successful.”
The road doesn’t get any easier for Perham (2-2), as they head down Hwy. 78 Friday, Dec. 19 to take on No. 6-A Battle Lake. The Battlers are 6-0, and are averaging 78.7 points per game, while allowing just 32 ppg.
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