The Barnesville Trojans threw a scare into undefeated and state ranked Perham Yellow Jackets, before falling by the score of 46-38 in Heart O’ Lakes Conference basketball action on Thursday night in Perham.
The Yellow Jackets came into this game with an undefeated record and leading the conference. They are considered the early season favorite to win the section and are playing at a very high level.
Barnesville came into this game short-handed with two of their top players out with sickness and injury. The deck looked stacked for Barnesville, but somebody forgot to tell the Trojans to roll over and play dead.
Perham opened up a quick 8-2 lead, before the Trojans tied the game on a Jason Henrickson layup, a Charle Aakre layup and an Aakre jump shot. The Yellow Jackets would then score the next seven points to take a 15-8 lead.
Sam Askegaard would enter the game and convert back-to-back layups to cut the lead to three before the Yellow Jackets managed another basket for a five-point advantage. Henrickson would quickly net another layup followed by a Grant Inniger three ball to tie the game at 17.
But back came Perham as they tallied the next 11 points before Matt Bredman scored on a layup that made the score 28-19, which is how the half would end.
Perham would open the second half on an 11-4 run to open up a commanding 39-23 lead, but the Trojans would not go away. Barnesville would outscore Perham 14-2 thanks to a patient offense and a swarming defense.
Hunter Zenzen started the run with two free throws followed by an Askegaard three-point shot. Perham would net a layup but the Trojans would answer with an Adam Tonsfeldt layup, an Aakre three ball, a Zenzen layup and an Aakre jumper to cut the lead to four points at 41-37. Barnesville had the ball and managed to get to the free throw line for a bonus free shot with a minute and a half to play. Zenzen’s shot was off the mark and Perham would make Barnesville pay as they tallied the next four points on free throws and five of the final six points of the game from the charity stripe for a 46-38 victory.
“I am very pleased with the effort we brought forth tonight,” said Head Coach Todd Henrickson. “We were short handed, playing the top team in our section on their court and would not back down. We fell behind by 16 points in the second half, but clawed our way back into the game with aggressiveness on both ends of the court. We had a chance to cut the lead to two points late in the game, but missed our opportunity. The kids played very hard and never gave up. I love our passion and intensity for the game. We need to keep pushing ourselves everyday to improve as a team and individually.”
Perham hit 16-of-39 (41%) field goal attempts, making 6-of-19 (31%) from three point range. The Yellowjackets were led by Jensen Beachy (17 points, 4 assists, 6 steals), Martin Lafond (12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) and Josh Jeziorski (12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals. Ben Winkels added 3 assists and Logan Richter had 5 points, 4 rebound, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Next action for Perham (7-0) will be their home tournament. They will open play on Wednesday with a 6:30pm tip-off against Anoka.
Aakre led the Trojans with nine points, grabbing four rebounds and handing out three assists, while Askegaard added seven points. Zenzen netted six points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists, with Inniger tallying five points.
Matt Bredman finished the game with four points, four rebounds and three steals, with Henrickson adding four points and Tonsfeldt netting three points, four assists, two steals and two assists to round out the scoring.
The Trojans record now stands at 2-3 on the season and 1-2 in the HOL Conference.