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Strong finish leads Panthers by Tigers

Katie Klein (23) drove in for a layup during Park Rapids’ 76-55 win at Nevis Thursday night.

     Eight different players scored during a game-ending 25-8 run as the Park Rapids girls basketball team broke open a close game en route to a 76-55 win over Nevis Thursday night at the Tiger Arena.

     Two free throws by Megan Norby pulled Nevis to within 51-47 with 8:33 to play before jumpers by Bria Wolff and Katie Klein and a basket off a rebound by Gabie Johnson started the Panthers’ game-ending run.

     After a layup by Norby made it 57-49 with 6:07 to play, layups by Klein and Hope Johnson, a layup off a steal by Megan Grimes and a 3-pointer by Justine Rittgers pushed the Panthers’ lead to 66-50 with 3:53 left.

     After a basket off a rebound by Norby, a jumper by Charity Ridlon, a layup by Klein, a jumper by Wolff, and layups by Ellery Overmyer and Wolff capped off the win.

     Two baskets by Norby, jumpers by Hannah Bliss and Jordyn Lucas, and a 3-pointer by Diana Schuldt gave Nevis a 12-6 lead with 11:43 to play in the first half before the Panthers responded with a 10-2 run to take a 16-14 lead at the 6:50 mark. Ridlon hit a jumper, Grimes scored off a rebound, and Klein hit two free throws and a 3-pointer.

     After a layup by Norby tied the game at 16-16 with 6:36 to go, Gabie Johnson put back a rebound and Klein scored off a steal to give the Panthers a 21-18 lead at the 5:24 mark.

     A jumper by Norby, back-to-back jumpers by Lucas and a layup by Norby gave Nevis a 26-23 advantage with 2:51 to go before the Panthers closed the half with an 11-3 run to take the lead for good. Gabie Johnson scored inside, Ridlon hit a jumper, Grimes scored off a rebound and Klein hit a 3-pointer as the Panthers carried a 34-29 lead into the break.

     Klein’s layup off a steal, jumpers by Ridlon and Gabie Johnson, and a basket off a rebound by Ridlon pushed Park Rapids’ lead to 47-37 with 14:06 to play.

     The Tigers rallied behind a 3-pointer by Schuldt, a jumper by Bliss and two free throws by Norby to trail 51-47 with 8:33 to play before Park Rapids’ defense allowed only two field goals by Nevis the rest of the game.

     Klein led the Panthers with 23 points and five steals, Ridlon added 14 points, five steals and four assists, Gabie Johnson had 12 points, and Grimes finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. The win lifted Park Rapids, which had 21 steals in the game, to 6-9 on the season.

     Norby scored a game-high 26 points and Bliss added 10 points for the Tigers, who fell to 7-6.

PARK RAPIDS: H. Johnson 1 0-1 2, Grimes 4 2-4 10, Klein 8 5-6 23, Ridlon 6 2-3 14, G. Johnson 6 0-0 12, Olson 0 0-0 0, Rittgers 2 0-0 5, Overmyer 1 0-0 2, Waggoner 0 0-0 0, Wolff 3 2-2 8. Totals: 31 for 77 (FG), 11 for 16 (FT).

NEVIS: Norby 8 10-16 26, Lucas 3 3-6 9, H. Bliss 5 0-3 10, Schuldt 2 0-0 6, Poncelet 1 0-0 2, E. Bliss 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 (FG), 13 for 25 (FT).

Halftime: Park Rapids 34, Nevis 29. Three-pointers: Klein 2, Rittgers 1, Schuldt 2. Team fouls: Park Rapids 19, Nevis 14. Rebounds: Park Rapids 33 (Grimes 13, Ridlon 6, G. Johnson 5, H. Johnson 3, Wolff 3, Rittgers 2, Olson 1). Assists: Park Rapids 7 (Ridlon 4, Grimes 2, G. Johnson 1). Steals: Park Rapids 21 (Klein 5, Ridlon 5, Grimes 4, G. Johnson 4, H. Johnson 2, Rittgers 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 1 (H. Johnson). Turnovers: Park Rapids 7.