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Free throws lift Pirates past Panthers

Park Rapids' Bryce Brovitch (42) reached for a rebound during Saturday's game against Crookston.

     Hitting clutch free throws in the final minute gave Crookston a 71-67 victory over the Park Rapids boys basketball team Saturday night at the Area High School gym.

     Rilee Johnson’s free throw with 59 seconds remaining tied the game at 66-66 before the Pirates used two free throws by Aaron Hollcraft with 45 seconds left and two free throws by Ryan Porter with 13 seconds left to pull off the road win in this battle of Section 8AA Northeast rivals.

     The first half featured 11 lead changes as Crookston carried a 41-36 lead into the intermission.

     A layup by Wyatt Derman, two layups by Johnson, a pair of jumpers by Derman, and a pair of 3-pointers and a layup by Jordan McCollum gave the Panthers an 18-14 lead with 10:53 to play in the first half. Emmanuel McCollough scored three baskets inside and Aaron Hollcraft hit a jumper and 3-pointer for the Pirates.

     Two layups and a jumper by Johnson and a 3-pointer by McCollum kept the Panthers ahead 27-26 with 5:53 showing before a pair of 3-pointers by Porter sparked a 13-2 run as Crookston claimed a 39-29 lead at the 2:06 mark.

     A 3-poiner by McCollum and two layups by Johnson cut the gap to 41-36 at the half. Those two accounted for 28 of the Panthers’ points in the first half.

     Porter hit another 3-pointer as the Pirates maintained a 51-43 advantage before the Panthers rallied behind two jumpers by Derman, a layup by Riley Massie, two free throws apiece by McCollum and Johnson, a jumper by Derman, a layup by Johnson and four free throws by McCollum. A jumper by McCollum at the 1:52 mark and a layup by Johnson at the 1:30 mark gave the Panthers a 65-64 lead.

     Porter hit two free throws with 1:10 remaining before Johnson’s free throw tied the game. Johnson made another free throw with 25 seconds left to end the scoring for the Panthers.

     McCollough’s 20 points and 10 rebounds, Porter’s 17 points and Hollcraft’s 16 points led the Pirates, who improved to 2-0.

     Johnson finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists while McCollum added 22 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Derman scored 14 points and Derek Porozinski had four steals as the Panthers fell to 1-1 on the season.

CROOKSTON: Porter 5 4-4 17, Davidson 2 0-0 4, Koenig 0 1-2 1, Hollcraft 5 4-4 16, Miller 1 0-0 2, Hefta 3 5-8 11, McCollough 8 4-5 20. Totals: 26 (FG), 18 for 23 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: Derman 7 0-0 14, Johnson 11 4-7 26, J. McCollum 6 6-6 22, Porozinski 0 0-1 0, Jewison 1 1-2 3, Massie 1 0-0 2, Brovitch 0 0-0 0, Hess 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 for 54 (FG), 11 for 16 (FT).

Halftime: Crookston 41, Park Rapids 36. Three-point field goals: Porter 3, Hollcraft 2, J. McCollum 4. Team fouls: Park Rapids 20. Fouled out: Derman, Jewison. Rebounds: Park Rapids 33 (Johnson 12, J. McCollum 12, Jewison 3, Massie 2, Porozinski 2, Derman 1, Brovitch 1). Assists: Park Rapids 22 (Johnson 8, J. McCollum 8, Derman 2, Porozinski 2, Massie 1, Jewison 1). Steals: Park Rapids 15 (J. McCollum 4, Porozinski 4, Johnson 3, Massie 2, Derman 2). Turnovers: Park Rapids 17.