Girls Basketball: Second-half surge propels Perham over C-I
The Crosby-Ironton Rangers faced the Perham Yellowjackets in the Class 2A State Consolation Semifinals Thursday, March 16.
ST. PAUL — It was slow and methodical, but Perham head coach T.J. Super kind of expected it.
He called it the law of averages and despite his team turning the ball over on its first five possessions of the second half, the Perham Yellowjackets still erased a seven-point halftime deficit and eliminated the Crosby-Ironton Rangers 56-50 in the Class 2A Consolation Semifinals Thursday, March 16, at Concordia University.
Cora Grismer scored 13 second-half points, including a 3-pointer with 4:10 left to give Perham its first lead since the start of the game.
“She was really big all night,” Super said. “Cora was taking it to the basket and scoring. She was really good against the zone. It felt good to get the lead, but the nervewracking thing is when you’re constantly fighting to get back into a game, I mean we were down 10 right away, you’re just fighting non-stop to get back up and when you get to that point you run out of energy.
“I think that’s where our depth really came through. We played 10 girls and nine got a lot of minutes. It felt like we were wearing them down a little bit and we didn’t have that lull once we got the lead back.”
Grismer’s 3 was part of a 5-0 Perham run that turned a 42-39 Ranger lead into a 44-42 Yellowjacket advantage. Then it was a matter of hitting free throws. Perham hit 11-of-17 from the line in the second half and were 16-23 for the game from the line.
C-I attempted just seven free throws the entire game.
“In the section championship, we were 10-for-22 from the line, but we’ve been a pretty good free throw shooting team throughout the season,” Supe said. “It’s been a little bit of an Achelle’s heel lately, but luckily we’ve been building up leads so it hasn’t been a problem.”
Grismer finished with 17 points to lead the Yellowjackets. Willow Thiel finished with 15 and Mya Morris added 10.
“They were pretty hot in the first half and we’ve kind of had this motto all season that the law of averages are what they are,” Super said. “When we’ve shot poorly in a half, we always say the law of averages are going to work themselves back. I think we’re a good shooting team. When a team shoots well against us and we’re playing good defense then those percentages should come down. I actually thought we were playing pretty good defense in the first half, but they just hit a lot of shots. They were really, really good players.”
While the Yellowjackets were slowly crawling back into the matchup, the Rangers' offense went cold in the second half. C-I shot just 9-of-27 from the field and 1-of-11 from 3-point. The lone 3-pointer was from freshman Tori Oehrlien, who finished with a game-high 27 points. The 3, however, came after Perham built a 56-47 lead thanks to eight straight free throws.
“I’ll give credit to Perham, but I felt like we stayed aggressive,” C-I head coach Pete Vukalich said. “We maybe didn’t get some whistles that we should have gotten and they made a lot of free throws.
“We tried to get Tori to the rim. They started calling a lot of fouls for them and we thought we would get a lot of the same if we stayed aggressive. When she’s not hitting inside or outside it just doesn’t roll our way.”
The Rangers busted out early with a 10-0 run to break a 3-3 tie and claim a 13-3 advantage. Back-to-back Oehrlien baskets ignited the run along with two Margaret Silgen baskets and two Samantha Hachey free throws.
A Hannah Compton basket followed by an Oehrlien putback pushed C-I’s lead to 23-12 before Perham clawed back in with a 7-3 run to make it 26-19. Compton then scored five straight points to push C-I’s lead to 31-19. Perham’s Willow Thiel, who scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half, made a basket followed by an Olivia Pilgrim 3-pointer for a 31-24 halftime score.
“I was honestly kind of nervous after a bummer game last night,” Vukelich said. “We all felt like we could have won last night against Goodhue. I was a little worried about how we were going to come out, but we came out throwing punches and I loved it. I loved the energy.”
The Rangers shot 43% in the opening from and forced seven Perham turnovers, which they turned into 11 points. C-I’s defense also held Perham to 29% (8-of-27) shooting from the field.
Compton scored all 13 of her points in the first half with Oehrlien collecting 12 points to lead the Rangers.
“I’m unbelievably proud,” Vukelich said. “We stuck together. Things were rocky at the beginning. I can’t deny that at all, but we figured it out as a staff and as players. I’m just incredibly proud of what we accomplished this year.”
Perham 24 32 -- 56
Crosby-Ironton 31 19 -- 50
Mya Morris 10, Cora Grismer 17, Kaia Anderson 3, Kennedy Pilgrim 8, Olivia Pilgrim 3, Willow Thiel 15. FG 16-42 (38%), FT 16-23 (69%). 3-point 7-17 (41%).
Hannah Compton 13, Margaret Silgen 8, Samatha Hachey 2, Tori Oehrlein 27. FG 21-55 (38%), FT 5-7 (71%). 3-point 5-23 (22%).
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Perham 56, Crosby-Ironton 50
Key: C-I shot just 9-of-27 from the field, while Peham was 13-17 from the line.
Overall: CI 23-9, Per 27-4.
Next: Perham vs. New London-Spicer in Consolation Championship at Concordia University 2 p.m. Friday, March 17.