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Posted On: 09/30/18 5:30 PM
Perham was the last team to lose a game last season. Unfortunately it came in the section championship game against Breckenridge for the second straight season. The Yellowjackets were dominant during the regular season, winning 15 games by at least 20 points. With three starters and several solid rotation players back, the Yellowjackets have the look of a top-five caliber club again.
Must be Replaced: Martin LaFond, Logan Richter, Ben Winkels
Replacing two starters as valuable as LaFond and Richter will be no easy task. LaFond emerged as a really solid third scorer last year for the Yellowjackets, averaging better than 14 points per game. His athleticism on the wing gave Perham something many teams in the Heart O Lakes didn’t have. Richter was a physical presence on the court and while his numbers never painted the picture of a dominant big man, his impact on the game was certainly vital to Perham’s success the last two seasons.
Returning Starters: Jenson Beachy, Josh Jeziorski, Carter Cresap
Beachy and Jeziorski are two of the best players in the state and give Perham a talent advantage in just about every game the Yellowjackets will take part in this season. Beachy is already the school’s all-time leading scorer but his game has evolved as he’s much more than just a scorer. He’s a terrific facilitator (5 assists per game) and a solid defender to go along with his ability to put up 20-plus points on any given night. Jeziorski averaged 14.8 points and about eight rebounds as a junior and had a strong summer playing with Comets. His athleticism, shooting ability and energy make him an awfully tough cover and a solid college prospect. Cresap started in the backcourt last year and while he might not put up eye-popping numbers, his contributions to winning can’t be understated.
Stepping Into Key Roles: John LaFond, Cresap, Finn Diggins
Beachy and Jeziorski were keys in the Perham offense last year and will continue to shoulder the load but LaFond, Cresap and Diggins will all be expected to contribute consistently as well. Cresap averaged about seven points a year ago and while he may not score a lot, his steady presence on the floor benefits everybody. LaFond is a top-notch athlete who got the team a few buckets a game last year. His defense and energy is a bonus and if he can contribute 5-8 points a night, all the better. Diggins averaged about five points a game as a freshman and he could be a name to watch out for over the course of the next three years.
The Future: Finn Diggins, Elijah Morris, Grant McMartin
Diggins is one of the better prospects in the 2021 class and earned solid playing time as just a freshman last season. At 6-foot-5, he’ll be a fixture in the Perham lineup for a while and has the potential to be really good before long. Morris and McMartin are both wing players who could break into the lineup this upcoming winter though they won’t be expected to play major roles until next year.
Perham’s had the talent each of the last two years to get to the state tournament and probably the requisite talent to win a game or two there. But the Yellowjackets have come up short each time, losing to Breckenridge. Once again, they’ll go into the year with plenty of talent, plenty of experience and all the component pieces necessary to not only get to state, but do well there.