Groth: Perham played a season to remember

The Perham boys basketball team huddles up prior to the start of their Section 8AA semifinal victory over East Grand Forks. It was the final pregame huddle for the 2019-20 season as the the Section 8AA Championship game was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic. (Jason Groth / Perham Focus)

What an abrupt end to an otherwise perfect season for the Perham boys basketball team.

Despite being cut short because of the coronavirus, the 2019-20 season was a memorable one. The Yellowjackets rattled off win after win on their way to the Section 8AA Championship game against Fergus Falls.

The Yellowjackets will go down in history as one of just two teams in Minnesota to finish with an unblemished record. Eden Prairie is the other, finishing with a 28-0 record ahead of their Section 2AAAA Championship game with Shakopee.

During the Section 8AA semifinals, heading into what was supposed to be Perham’s championship game, there were a lot of questions on press row: Would they continue the tournament? Would there be fans in attendance? And then the most common question, did you see the NBA suspended its season?

Ultimately, what was supposed to be a joyous time for several teenage basketball players quickly changed. Friday morning, March 13, the Minnesota State High School League announced the cancellation of the 2019-20 basketball season.


The Perham coaching staff, along with Erin Anderson and Mitch Anderson, informed the team of the news in a group meeting. The news hit the team hard at first, but they quickly shook it off as the day wore on.

In fact, the players did what they do best — they played hoops. They gathered at a team member’s house and held a mini two-on-two tournament. The Perham Boys Basketball Twitter account highlighted the event, with videos of the team doing their typical warm-up routine and team huddle before playing the tournament. It was a great way for the boys to bond during what has to be a trying time for them.

This team set the standard for future teams. Many had predicted that Perham would be a highly competitive team and in the mix at the end of the season, but I don’t think anyone predicted the Yellowjackets would post 28 wins against their schedule. The Yellowjackets posted 28 wins against teams with a combined 316-257 win/loss record during the season.

Another impressive feat for these Yellowjackets was their ability to turn the Hive into one of the toughest places to play. They rattled off 28 straight wins at the Hive and 50 overall at home, which includes games at the Prairie Wind Middle School. Quite the impressive run.

Unfortunately, we won’t get to see how it would have played out or how the Section 8AA Championship would have finished. But that doesn’t mean this team can’t be celebrated.

Jason Groth is Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal.

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