Panthers return home, defeat C-I
Despite not playing a game at the Area High School gym in a month, the Park Rapids girls basketball team felt right at home during Friday night’s Mid-State Conference win over Crosby-Ironton.
The Panthers, who had played seven straight games on the road following a 77-71 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley at home on Dec. 21, trailed only once when Crosby-Ironton opened the scoring in a 63-46 victory. That win lifted Park Rapids’ record to 7-0 in conference games and 10-4 overall.
“The girls felt right at home after not playing at home for so long,” said Park Rapids head coach Jeff Overmyer. “We got ahead right away and the girls played relaxed. They played really well, especially defensively.”
Karli Nixon opened the game with a layup and followed with a 3-pointer as the game was tied at 5-5 with 16:22 to play in the first half. Rilee Michaelson had a layup and Kaisa Coborn hit a 3-pointer for the Panthers.
Michaelson followed with four straight baskets as the Panthers led 13-6 at the 14:22 mark. Park Rapids would lead the rest of the game.
After Shyanne Loiland hit a 3-pointer for C-I to make it 13-9, a basket off a rebound by Olivia McDonald, a layup by Paige Johnson, two jumpers by Kendra Coborn and a jumper by Jaiden McCollum pushed Park Rapids’ lead to 23-11 with 7:41 remaining in the first half.
The Rangers followed with back-to-back 3-pointers by Loiland and Lily Peterson, but a layup by Michaelson, two layups by Johnson, and two jumpers and a basket off a rebound by McCollum gave the Panthers a 37-22 lead at the break.
Park Rapids maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the game as a 3-pointer by Coborn, two baskets off rebounds by Michaelson, a pair of jumpers by McCollum, another 3-pointer by Coborn, layups by Michaelson and Johnson, and a 3-pointer by Kortne Byer extended the lead to 58-35 with 5:21 to play.
Michaelson finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Kaisa Coborn had 17 points, six steals and four assists. McCollum also scored in double figures with 12 points and joined McDonald with seven rebounds. Jordan Klemmer, Kendra Coborn and Johnson had six rebounds each while Kendra Coborn led the way with eight assists.
Loiland (13), Peterson (11) and Nixon (10) hit double figures for the Rangers, who made 7 of 24 3-pointers in falling to 3-3 in the conference and 8-8 overall.
“Our defense was solid,” said Overmyer. “C-I is a one-dimensional team. They like to shoot a lot of 3-pointers and we did a nice job of contesting their shots and taking them out of their rhythm.”