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Panthers' Mid-State losing streak ended

Park Rapids’ Megan Grimes (15) put a shot over Frazee’s Mandy Donahue during Thursday night’s game.1 / 2
Justine Rittgers brought the ball upcourt during Park Rapids’ win over Wadena-Deer Creek Friday night.2 / 2

     Two long streaks ended when the Park Rapids girls basketball team defeated Frazee and Wadena-Deer Creek on consecutive nights at the Area High School gym.

     The Panthers rallied from a 19-point halftime deficit to defeat Frazee 68-63 Thursday night and followed with a 63-44 victory over Wadena-Deer Creek Friday night. The win over W-DC snapped a 34-game losing streak to Mid-State Conference opponents and gave the Panthers back-to-back wins for the first time since January 2009.

     The two wins inched the Panthers closer to the .500 mark at 4-5.

Panthers rally past Frazee

     Frazee hit four 3-pointers in the first half in building a 43-24 lead.

     The Panthers countered by making six 3-pointers in the second half to rally for the win.

     A three-point play by Taylor Tappe and 3-pointers by Hailee Oswald and Josi Tappe sparked the Hornets to a 22-8 lead with 11:59 to play in the first half.

     A pair of 3-pointers and jumper by Charity Ridlon and a jumper by Gabie Johnson sliced the gap to 25-18 at the 6:43 mark before 3-pointers by Whitney Janu and Taylor Tappe pushed Frazee’s lead to 36-20 with 3:55 left.

     Jumpers by Ridlon and Bria Wolff were offset by a pair of baskets off rebounds by Kennady Barlund as the Hornets carried a 43-24 lead into the break.

     Two 3-pointers by Katie Klein and another by Hope Johnson cut Frazee’s lead to 45-34 with 13:15 to play before a 3-pointer by Mandy Donahue helped push the Hornets’ lead back to 54-36 with 10:16 remaining.

     That’s when the Panthers started their comeback.

     A pair of baskets off rebounds by Gabie Johnson, a 3-pointer by Klein, a basket off a rebound by Ridlon, another 3-pointer by Klein, a layup by Ridlon and a basket off a rebound by Megan Grimes rallied the Panthers to within 54-52 with 5:51 remaining.

     After a layup by Katie Smith gave the Hornets a 56-52 edge, a 3-pointer by Klein and a layup by Grimes gave Park Rapids a 57-56 lead with 4:54 left. A jumper by Ridlon and a layup by Klein made it 61-58 with 2:32 left before two free throws and a jumper by Josi Tappe gave Frazee a 62-61 lead with 1:55 to go.

     Ridlon and Grimes scored off rebounds and Ridlon hit three free throws in the final 16 seconds to spark the Panthers to the win.

     Ridlon scored a game-high 25 points and added 12 rebounds and four steals while Klein scored 19 points. Grimes also had a double-double with 11 points and 19 rebounds while Gabie Johnson grabbed 10 rebounds for the Panthers.

Josi Tappe had 18 points, Taylor Tappe added 15 points and Barlund had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who made only 5 of 27 3-pointers in falling to 4-7 on the season.

     “The girls had to focus and come together and play as a team. They had to tighten up their defense and make the easy shots,” said Park Rapids head coach Tina Ridlon. “The girls have a never-give-up attitude and it was key in the win. I also have to give credit to the crowd. The louder they got, the more confidence the girls portrayed. It was a great game and a fun win.”

FRAZEE: T. Tappe 4 6-7 15, Smith 2 0-2 4, Barlund 4 0-0 8, Donahue 1 0-0 3, J. Tappe 6 7-8 20, Oswald 2 3-3 8, Janu 2 0-0 5. Totals: 21 for 60 (FG), 16 for 22 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: H. Johnson 1 0-2 3, Grimes 5 1-7 11, Klein 7 0-1 19, Ridlon 10 3-6 25, Wolff 1 0-0 2, Rittgers 0 0-0 0, G. Johnson 4 0-0 8. Totals: 28 for 69 (FG), 4 for 16 (FT).

Halftime: Frazee 43, Park Rapids 24. Three-pointers: T. Tappe 1, Oswald 1, Donahue 1, Janu 1, H. Johnson 1, Klein 5, Ridlon 2. Team fouls: Frazee 15, Park Rapids 18. Rebounds: Park Rapids 48 (Grimes 19, Ridlon 12, G. Johnson 10, Rittgers 3, Wolff 2, H. Johnson 1, Klein 1). Assists: Park Rapids 10 (Grimes 3, H. Johnson 2, Ridlon 2, G. Johnson 2, Klein 1). Steals: Park Rapids 8 (Ridlon 4, Klein 2, Rittgers 1, Grimes 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 2 (Ridlon 2). Turnovers: Park Rapids 18.

Panthers end conference skid

     The Panthers didn’t need a second-half comeback against W-DC in posting their first win against a conference opponent since defeating Detroit Lakes 53-47 in February of 2010.

     Ridlon scored 20 points in leading the Panthers to a 40-19 lead at the intermission. Park Rapids would maintain a comfortable lead the rest of the game.

     Gabie Johnson’s layup off a steal, a jumper and three-point play by Ridlon, two more inside baskets by Gabie Johnson, and a layup by Klein gave the Panthers a 13-6 lead at the 13:20 mark.

     Five baskets by Ridlon extended the lead to 26-14 at the 6:30 mark before a jumper by Gabie Johnson, two baskets off rebounds by Grimes, and putbacks by Ridlon and Wolff gave Park Rapids a 40-19 cushion at the break.

     Layups by Grimes, Ridlon and Gabie Johnson and a 3-pointer by Klein extended the lead to 52-25 with 10:59 to go. A jumper by Wolff, a layup by Grimes, a jumper by Ridlon and a layup by Megan Olson capped off the win.

     Ridlon finished with a double-double with 25 points and 15 rebounds while Gabie Johnson added 15 points and three assists to lead the Panthers. Grimes pulled down 14 rebounds while Klein and Wolff had five steals apiece as the Panthers improved to 1-4 against conference teams.

     Hope Theisen scored 18 points and Jennifer Craig added 11 points for the Wolverines, who fell to 0-3 in conference play and 0-7 overall.

     “The girls stepped on the floor knowing that a Park Rapids girls basketball team had not seen a conference win since 2010,” said Ridlon. “They were determined to get one.”

WADENA-DEER CREEK: Theisen 4 9-9 18, Volkmann 1 0-2 2, R. Schwartz 1 0-0 2, O. Schwartz 1 0-2 2, Langer 0 2-4 2, Barthel 0 1-2 1, Craig 3 5-8 11, Nelson 1 4-6 6. Totals: 11 (FG), 21 for 33 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: H. Johnson 0 2-2 2, Grimes 4 0-2 8, Klein 2 1-5 6, Ridlon 10 5-8 25, G. Johnson 5 5-6 15, Olson 1 0-0 2, Rittgers 0 0-0 0, Overmyer 0 0-0 0, Waggoner 0 0-0 0, Wolff 2 1-3 5. Totals: 24 for 69 (FG), 14 for 26 (FT).

Halftime: Park Rapids 40, W-DC 19. Three-pointers: Theisen 1, Klein 1. Team fouls: W-DC 21, Park Rapids 24. Fouled out: H. Johnson, G. Johnson. Rebounds: Park Rapids 52 (Ridlon 15, Grimes 14, Rittgers 7, G. Johnson 7, H. Johnson 4, Klein 2, Wolff 2, Olson 1). Assists: Park Rapids 9 (G. Johnson 3, Klein 2, Rittgers 1, H. Johnson 1, Grimes 1, Ridlon 1). Steals: Park Rapids 19 (Klein 5, Wolff 5, Ridlon 4, G. Johnson 2, Overmyer 1, H. Johnson 1, Grimes 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 1 (Rittgers). Turnovers: Park Rapids 20.