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Pirates hit free throws to hold off Panthers

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Pirates hit free throws to hold off Panthers
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

In last year's season opener for the Park Rapids boys basketball team, Crookston jumped out to a 23-0 lead and coasted to a 61-39 victory.

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In this year's season opener at Crookston last Saturday, the Pirates jumped out to a 13-0 lead. This time, the Panthers rallied to tie the game at 19-19 and stayed within striking distance the rest of the way before Crookston held on for a 63-55 victory.

After Crookston scored the first 13 points of the game, four baskets by Tyler McCollum helped the Panthers tie the game at 19-19.

Crookston went on a 7-0 run before Cory Gartner's basket pulled Park Rapids to within 26-21 at the half.

The Pirates pushed the lead to 33-23 before an inside basket by Zach Jewison, two baskets by McCollum, a basket by Rilee Johnson and three straight baskets by Kyle Goplerud closed the gap to 40-39 with 8:30 to play.

Two baskets by Jewison kept the Panthers within 50-48 with 3:30 to go, but the Pirates made 11 of 14 free throws the rest of the way to preserve the lead.

Aaron Hollcraft had 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Pirates.

McCollum (13) and Goplerud (10) led a balanced attack for the Panthers, who had eight players score points. McCollum and Jewison grabbed eight rebounds each while Johnson had seven rebounds. Jordan McCollum, Tyler McCollum and Gartner had four assists each. The Panthers missed all 10 3-point attempts and finished shooting 22 for 84 from the field and 11 for 22 at the free throw line.

PARK RAPIDS: J. McCollum 0 0-2 0, T. McCollum 6 1-2 13, Johnson 3 2-2 8, K. Goplerud 4 2-4 10, Gartner 2 0-0 4, C. Goplerud 1 2-4 4, Waller 2 2-4 6, Carlson 1 1-2 3, Jewison 3 1-2 7. Totals: 22 for 84 (FG), 11 for 22 (FT).

CROOKSTON: Hollcraft 17, Vatthauer 14, Boone 14, Porter 9, Hefta 8, Boike 1.

Halftime: Crookston 26, Park Rapids 21. Rebounds: Park Rapids 39 (T. McCollum 8, Jewison 8, Johnson 7, K. Goplerud 5, Carlson 3, J. McCollum 2, Gartner 2, C. Goplerud 2, Waller 2). Assists: Park Rapids 24 (J. McCollum 4, T. McCollum 4, Gartner 4, Waller 3, Carlson 3, Johnson 2, K. Goplerud 2, C. Goplerud 2). Steals: Park Rapids 7 (T. McCollum 2, C. Goplerud 2, J. McCollum 1, Johnson 1, Waller 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 4 (T. McCollum 2, Waller 1, Carlson 1). Turnovers: Park Rapids 16. Team fouls: 27. Fouled out: Johnson.

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