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C.J. Hess drove to the basket during Park Rapids' regular-season finale against Hawley Friday night.

Panthers open playoffs at Pequot Lakes

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Park Rapids Enterprise
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Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Park Rapids is looking to avenge a pair of regular-season losses to Pequot Lakes when the Section 8AA boys basketball tournament begins Thursday night.

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The Panthers, who ended the regular season with an 8-17 record and received the No. 5 seed in the North for the section tournament, will open the playoffs at No. 4 Pequot Lakes Thursday night at 7. Pequot Lakes enters the playoffs with an 11-15 record, including wins of 59-51 and 69-59 over the Panthers during the regular season.

The winner of that game will play No. 1 Crosby-Ironton (22-4) at Bemidji State University Saturday night at 6:30.

In Thursday night's other first-round games in the North, No. 3 Crookston (11-14) hosts No. 6 Bagley (10-16) and No. 2 Warroad (13-13) hosts No. 7 Roseau (7-19).

In the South half, No. 1 Hawley (23-1) hosts No. 8 Wadena-Deer Creek (5-20), No. 2 Perham (19-7) hosts No. 7 Frazee (4-22), No. 3 Pelican Rapids (18-8) hosts No. 6 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (8-16) and No. 4 Barnesville (17-7) hosts No. 5 Breckenridge (8-15).

The section championship game will be held March 16 at Concordia College.

Pekas, Hawley defeat Panthers

A pair of breakaway dunks late in the first half by Devon Pekas sparked Hawley to an 80-52 win over the Panthers in the regular-season finale Friday night at the Area High School gym.

Layups by Rilee Johnson and Kyle Goplerud, a pair of baskets by Chris Goplerud, and layups by Kyle Goplerud and Chris Goplerud gave the Panthers a 12-11 lead with 13:05 to play in the first half.

Hawley, which was rated No. 2 in the latest state Class AA poll, used a layup by Jacob Crompton and a jumper by Ben Ellefson to take a 15-12 lead at the 12:12 mark. The Nuggets would lead the rest of the game.

After a layup by Tyler McCollum, two baskets by Ellefson pushed Hawley's lead to 23-15 with 10:58 to play in the first half.

McCollum hit a 3-pointer and scored off a rebound as the Panthers cut the gap to 25-20 at the 7:54 mark before Pekas hit a jumper and turned a steal into a dunk for a 29-20 lead. A 3-pointer by Cory Gartner and a jumper by Jordan McCollum pulled Park Rapids to within 29-25 at the 5:35 mark, but Ellefson hit a 3-pointer and Pekas turned another steal into a dunk as Hawley extended its lead to 34-25 with 4:43 remaining in the first half.

Two jumpers by Brandon Sellin offset a three-point play by Jordan McCollum as the Nuggets carried a 42-31 lead into the break.

Tyler McCollum opened the second half with a layup as the Panthers trailed 42-33. Hawley followed with a 17-4 run to take control. Crompton's three layups and a 3-pointer by Pekas sparked that run as the Nuggets led 59-37 with 11:41 to go.

Chris Goplerud hit a 3-pointer before a 3-pointer by Jordan Harms pushed Hawley's advantage to 64-41 with 10:56 remaining. Jordan McCollum hit a 3-pointer before the Nuggets responded with a 15-4 run. Logan Stoa turned two rebounds into baskets and Pekas hit a 3-pointer as Hawley led 79-48 with 2:30 left. Layups by Kyle Goplerud and Wyatt Derman concluded the scoring for the Panthers.

Ellefson (18), Pekas (16), Stoa (12) and Crompton (10) scored in double figures to lead a balanced scoring attack for the Nuggets.

Chris Goplerud posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Tyler McCollum and Kyle Goplerud had three steals apiece while Mason Long and Kyle Goplerud dished out five assists apiece for the Panthers, who turned the ball over 28 times.

HAWLEY: Harms 3 0-0 7, Ellefson 8 0-0 18, Pekas 7 0-0 16, Stoa 5 2-5 12, Crompton 5 0-0 10, Teeples 1 2-2 4, Filler 2 0-0 4, Sellin 3 0-0 6, Regnier 1 1-2 3. Totals: 35 (FG), 5 for 9 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: Long 0 0-0 0, T. McCollum 4 0-0 9, Johnson 1 3-6 5, K. Goplerud 3 1-2 7, C. Goplerud 6 1-2 14, Massie 0 0-0 0, J. McCollum 3 1-1 8, Porozinski 0 0-0 0, Gartner 1 0-0 3, Derman 1 0-0 2, Hess 0 0-3 0, Jewison 1 2-2 4, Brovitch 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 for 58 (FG), 8 for 16 (FT).

Halftime: Hawley 42, Park Rapids 31. Three-point field goals: Harms 1, Ellefson 2, Pekas 2, T. McCollum 1, C. Goplerud 1, J. McCollum 1, Gartner 1. Rebounds: Park Rapids 30 (C. Goplerud 12, T. McCollum 6, Johnson 5, K. Goplerud 3, Jewison 2, Gartner 1, Derman 1). Assists: Park Rapids 16 (Long 5, K .Goplerud 5, T. McCollum 2, Massie 1, J. McCollum 1, Johnson 1, C. Goplerud 1). Steals: Park Rapids 12 (T. McCollum 3, K. Goplerud 3, J. McCollum 2, Massie 1, Long 1, Gartner 1, C. Goplerud 1). Team fouls: Park Rapids 15. Turnovers: Park Rapids 28.

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