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Perham plays on

MINNEAPOLIS - Funny how a team with the Yellowjacket as a mascot found a way to just keep buzzing and buzzing before going in for the final sting. The Perham boys basketball team kept hanging around, forcing two overtimes before pulling off a 45-...

Perham basketball players celebrate
Perham players celebrate their double-overtime victory against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown during the Minnesota Class 2A state boys basketball tournament semifinals Friday at the Target Center in Minneapolis. David Samson / The Forum

MINNEAPOLIS - Funny how a team with the Yellowjacket as a mascot found a way to just keep buzzing and buzzing before going in for the final sting.

The Perham boys basketball team kept hanging around, forcing two overtimes before pulling off a 45-41 win over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown to advance to today's Minnesota Class 2A state boys basketball tournament championship game at the Target Center.

Perham (30-1) faces Rochester Lourdes (24-7) at 2 p.m. as it attempts to win its first state title in the school's first-ever appearance in the state tournament.

If that happens, it'll surely create memories for everyone in Perham. Though the Yellowjackets won, fans and players alike might be quick to forget this one.

Perham shot 34.9 percent while W-E-M (29-3) was 25.5 percent in a game that wasn't just a defensive stalemate.

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The Yellowjackets overcame the 19 turnovers it committed to make its mark in the second overtime thanks to Nick Tobkin.

Tobkin, who scored a game-high 14 points, scored five points in the second OT, with most of them coming off free throws.

When he wasn't hitting free throws, Tobkin was helping on the defensive end, limiting the Buccaneers to just five points in the frame.

Getting a defensive stop at the end wasn't a problem for Perham given how regulation and the first overtime ended.

Perham at one point had been down by six points until rallying back to tie the game at 32-32. The Buccaneers held possession for a minute in regulation before a layup attempt came up short at the buzzer. All this came with Perham captain and point guard Jordan Bruhn fouling out.

The second time, which came in the first overtime, resulted in the Buccaneers holding onto the ball for 1:55 until a jump shot came up short forcing a second overtime.

W-E-M didn't get a chance at it in the third thanks to Perham's defense.

When the final buzzer sounded, Perham's bench erupted along with every fan wearing black and yellow in the arena as they hope to seal the deal on what has been easily the most memorable season in this school's history.

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Part of what's made the season so memorable was the collapse of Zach Gabbard on Jan. 20. He collapsed during that game due to cardiac arrest, and following multiple surgeries was able to recover and be at Perham's first two games of the tournament.

Gabbard, who was introduced to open the game, shocked the building when he walked down the line slapping his teammates hands.

Looking back, maybe Perham could have used Gabbard's legs down the stretch.

Instead, they'll be relying on his support in the championship game.

PERHAM: Schumacher 4 2-2 10 Tobkin 4 5-6 14 Bruhn 1 2-6 4 Stratton 1 4-4 6 Cresap 2 1-4 5 Wiskow 2 0-0 4 Hein 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 13-18 45.

W-E-M: Pope 1 2-3 4 Erdman 0 1-2 1 Harmon 4 5-7 14 Gregor 1 2-2 3 Masberg 7 3-3 17. Totals: 13 13-17 41

Half: WEM 15, P 11. End of regulation: P 32, WEM 32. End of first overtime: WEM 36, P 36. 3-Pointers: P, 2 (Tobkin, Cresap). W-E-M, 2 (Pope, Harmon). Rebounds: P 36 (Cresap 9), W-E-M 33 (Gregor 11). Assists: P 9 (Bruhn 4), WEM 4 (Pope 2, Gregor 2).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

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Clark's Force blog can be found at http://slightlychilled.areavoices.com

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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