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Panthers prevail in Aitkin's return to Mid-State

Olivia McDonald (45) put up a jumper during Park Rapids' 61-49 Mid-State Conference win over Aitkin Friday night. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Aitkin's return to the Mid-State Conference wasn't a pleasant one.

Kaisa Coborn hit four 3-pointers in the first half and Jordan Klemmer hit three straight baskets midway through the second half in leading the Park Rapids girls basketball team to a 61-49 victory Friday night at the Area High School gym.

The Gobblers, who were playing in their first Mid-State game since leaving the conference in 1994, got off to a good start when Ramsey Moe's 3-pointer provided a 3-2 lead with 16:51 to play in the first half.

Coborn and Rilee Michaelson responded with 3-pointers to give Park Rapids an 8-3 advantage at the 14:54 mark. The Panthers would not trail again.

Moe hit another 3-pointer as the Gobblers cut the deficit to 9-8 at the 12:37 mark, but inside baskets by Olivia McDonald and Michaelson, a 3-pointer by Coborn, a jumper by Michaelson and a layup off a steal by Kortne Byer sparked an 11-0 run that gave Park Rapids a 20-8 lead with 8:13 remaining in the first half.

Two more 3-pointers by Coborn, a jumper by Paige Johnson and three free throws by Michaelson gave the Panthers a 33-19 edge at the break. Aitkin had a chance to slice into that deficit, but made only 9 for 17 free throws as Park Rapids was whistled for 13 fouls in the first half.

Moe and Brooklyn Brezinsky hit 3-pointers and Sarah Curtiss scored inside to open the second half as the Gobblers cut the deficit to 37-29 with 12:14 to play. The Panthers regained a double-digit lead as a layup by McDonald, a three-point play by Whitney Steffel, and three straight inside baskets by Klemmer made it 50-38 with 6:11 left.

Layups by Curtiss and Moe pulled the Gobblers to within 50-42 at the 4:44 mark before Michaelson scored off a rebound and Coborn hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Kendra Coborn and Jaiden McCollum also hit two free throws apiece in the final 1:10.

Kaisa Coborn finished with 16 points while Michaelson had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the Panthers. McCollum also hit double figures with 10 points and added four assists and four steals while Kendra Coborn had five assists and six rebounds and McDonald had three steals as Park Rapids prevailed despite turning the ball over 25 times. The win lifted the Panthers to 2-0 in the conference and overall.

Moe's 16 points and Kaija Davies' 13 rebounds led the Gobblers, who fell to 0-2 on the season.

AITKIN: J. MacDonald 1 0-0 2, M. MacDonald 1 4-6 6, Davies 1 6-8 9, Fellerman 3 0-0 6, Moe 6 1-1 16, Newton 1 0-0 2, Brezinsky 1 0-1 3, Curtiss 2 1-4 5. Totals: 16 (FG), 12 for 20 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: Ka. Coborn 4 4-5 16, Ke. Coborn 0 4-4 4, P. Johnson 1 0-0 2, Michaelson 4 4-8 13, McCollum 3 4-6 10, Steffel 1 1-1 3, Kinkel 0 0-0 0, Klemmer 3 1-2 7, J. Johnson 0 0-0 0, Byer 1 0-0 2, McDonald 2 0-2 4. Totals: 19 for 52 (FG), 18 for 28 (FT).

Halftime; Park Rapids 33, Aitkin 19. Three-pointers: Davies 1, Moe 3, Brezinsky 1, Ka. Coborn 4, Michaelson 1. Team fouls: Aitkin 19. Park Rapids 20. Rebounds: Park Rapids 34 (Michaelson 9, Ke. Coborn 6, McCollum 5, P. Johnson 4, Ka. Coborn 3, Byer 2, McDonald 2, Steffel 1, Klemmer 1, J. Johnson 1). Assists: Park Rapids 10 (Ke. Coborn 5, McCollum 4, Kinkel 1). Steals: Park Rapids 11 (McCollum 4, McDonald 3, Byer 2, Ka. Coborn 1, P. Johnson 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 1 (McDonald). Turnovers: Park Rapids 25.