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Panthers open season with win

Menahga’s Levi Schwartz (33) and Calvin Taylor (51) went up for a rebound during Tuesday night’s game against Park Rapids.1 / 2
Menahga’s Blake Hillukka and Park Rapids’ CJ Hess battled for a rebound during Tuesday night’s game.2 / 2

  Despite leading the entire game, the Park Rapids boys basketball team had to withstand several late rallies by Menahga to open the season with a 68-63 foul-plagued win Tuesday night at the Area High School gym.

     This game featured 51 fouls and 63 free throws as both teams battled foul trouble the entire way.

     Five inside baskets by Rilee Johnson, four free throws by Derek Porozinski, two free throws apiece by Zach Jewison, Riley Massie and Bryce Brovitch, and a 3-pointer by Jordan McCollum gave the Panthers a 23-11 lead with 10:08 to play in the first quarter. Levi Schwartz and Austen Schwartz hit 3-pointers while Austin Rudquist and Jacob Kicker hit jumpers for Menahga.

     The Braves countered with a 21-10 run to cut the gap to 33-32 with 2:41 to play in the first half. Two layups and a three-point play by Levi Schwartz, a pair of layups by Kyle Skoog, six free throws by Rudquist and a jumper by Austen Schwartz sparked Menahga. Porozinski’s jumper, a 3-pointer by McCollum, a layup by CJ Hess and a jumper by Johnson led the Panthers.

     Jumpers by Wyatt Derman and Brovitch and two free throws and a layup by Porozinski gave the Panthers a 41-36 lead at the half. Aaron Hrdlicka scored off a rebound and Calvin Taylor hit a jumper for the Braves.

     Both teams struggled on the offensive end at the start of the second half as layups by Johnson and McCollum, a 3-pointer by Derman, and layups by Derman, Porozinski and Johnson kept the Panthers in front 56-49 with 6:19 to play. Levi Schwartz hit two free throws and had three inside baskets while Austen Schwartz converted a three-point play and hit a jumper for Menahga during that stretch.

     Jumpers by McCollum and Derman gave Park Rapids a 60-53 lead before layups by Rudquist and Austen Schwartz cut the gap to 60-58 with 2:55 showing.

     Johnson scored off a rebound and followed with a layup as the Panthers led 64-59 with 1:39 remaining. After a jumper by Austen Schwartz, Derman scored off a steal for a 67-61 advantage with 58 seconds left.

     Rudquist scored off a rebound as the Braves trailed 67-63 with 17 seconds showing before Massie hit a free throw with 11 seconds left to seal the win.

     Johnson led the Panthers with 21 points while McCollum and Porozinski scored 13 points apiece. Jewison grabbed seven rebounds, Massie had four assists, and Derman and Johnson had three assists and three steals each. Porozinski also had three steals.

     Levi Schwartz had 20 points and 11 rebounds while Austen Schwartz chipped in 17 points and five assists. Rudquist added 14 points and nine rebounds as the Braves fell to 1-1 on the season.

MENAHGA: A. Schwartz 6 4-8 17, Lusti 0 1-4 1, Skoog 3 1-2 8, Au. Rudquist 3 8-8 14, L. Schwartz 6 5-7 17, Hrdlicka 1 0-0 2, Aa. Rudquist 0 0-0 0, Kicker 1 0-0 2, Hillukka 0 0-0 0, Taylor 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 for 53 (FG), 19 for 29 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: Derman 4 1-2 9, Johnson 10 1-5 21, J. McCollum 5 0-0 13, Porozinski 3 7-10 13, Jewison 0 3-4 3, Massie 0 3-8 3, Brovitch 1 2-4 4, Hess 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 for 49 (FG), 17 for 34 (FT).

Halftime: Park Rapids 41, Menahga 36. Three-point field goals: A. Schwartz 1, L. Schwartz 1, Derman 1, J. McCollum 2. Team fouls: Menahga 26, Park Rapids 25. Rebounds: Menahga 33 (L. Schwartz 11, Au. Rudquist 9, Hrdlicka 4, Lusti 3, A. Schwartz 2, Skoog 2, Taylor 2); Park Rapids 29 (Jewison 7, Derman 4, Porozinski 4, Brovitch 4, Johnson 3, J. McCollum 3, Massie 3, Hess 1). Assists: Menahga 8 (A. Schwartz 5, L. Schwartz 1, Lusti 1, Aa. Rudquist 1); Park Rapids 16 (Massie 4, Derman 3, Johnson 3, J. McCollum 3, Hess 2, Jewison 1). Steals: Menahga 8 (Au. Rudquist 2, Skoog 2, A. Schwartz 1, Kicker 1, Lusti 1, Aa. Rudquist 1); Park Rapids 10 (Derman 3, Johnson 3, Porozinski 3, Massie 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 1 (Jewison). Turnovers: Menahga 20, Park Rapids 12.