Senior forward Mesa Schultz means a lot to the Perham Yellowjackets and East Grand Forks took advantage of her absence with two early fouls in the first half to open up a lead and cruise to a 73-47 victory in the Section 8AA girls basketball quarterfinals at Memorial Auditorium in Moorhead Saturday, March 2.
“I thought we did a decent job right away in the first half with that,” Perham head coach TJ Super said. “It didn’t let us do exactly what we wanted to do and it’s a bummer Mesa got two fouls because of some mental mistakes that we made, not so much Mesa, but other girls in the open court not guarding girls in the correct position and getting out of position. Obviously, we want Mesa on the court the whole time. Anytime she’s off the court it kind of hurts us.”
The teams duked it out in the early going with three tied scores and back-and-forth action leading to a 13-11 Green Wave lead and a timeout from Super at 10-minutes, 35-seconds of the first half.
“I felt like we were prepared to handle their pressure and when you have a girl like Mesa in the middle and you can get her the ball the girls made great decisions,” said Super. “When Mesa left the court we tried doing stuff a little out of our heads.”
Schultz scored eight of Perham’s initial 11 points in the game.
Upon her departure, East Grand Forks took control building a 36-24 lead at the halftime break and went to the locker room with more momentum after a three-point dagger at the buzzer by McKenna Aitchison.
Perham’s Sydney Anderson drained an early three in the second half to pull the Jackets within 10 points down 45-35, but the Green Wave continued to attack and build their lead finishing the game on a 28-12 run to the final horn.
“In the second half, we tried to do way too much,” said Super. “You get behind and the pressure gets to you a little bit. A lot of times we think this game is about skill, but it’s a lot of decision-making and mental aspects. I thought that’s where East Grand Forks really beat us up.”
Schultz led Perham with 20 points. Katie Johnson added a dozen.
Chloe Torgerson scored 21 for the Green Wave to lead all scorers. Aitchison added 18 and Haley Burger scored 10 points.
Perham defeated East Grand Forks on the road in the only regular season meeting between the teams 58-54 in mid-February.
The Yellowjackets finish the season 13-15 overall. East Grand Forks improved to 20-7 and will play Crookston (17-10) in the semis. The Pirates upset the top-seed in the south subsection Park Rapids 63-48.
No. 2 Breckenridge outlasted No. 3 Hawley 56-54. The Nuggets had a three to win and a field goal to tie miss the mark in the final seconds. Roseau is up next for the Cowgirls in the other semifinal. Katie Borowicz scored 26 points to lead the Rams over Barnesville 77-57.
PER 24 23 - 47
EGF 36 37 - 73
PER - Mesa Schultz 20, Katie Johnson 12, Sydney Anderson 7, Grayce Mickelson 4, Lacy Richter 4.
EGF - Chloe Torgerson 21, McKenna Aitchison 18, Haley Burger 10, Macy Skyberg 9, Breanna Olson 8, Kadynn Melquist 3, Ha