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Panthers hold off Hornets for first win

Taylor Kimball drove in for a layup during Park Rapids' tournament game against Sauk Centre.1 / 2
Christian Ridlon put up a shot over two Sauk Centre defenders.2 / 2

In the first five games of the season, the Park Rapids boys basketball team struggled at the free-throw line.

Even though the Panthers missed nine free throws early, making six clutch free throws down the stretch was the key in posting their first win of the season last Wednesday night.

Christian Ridlon, Taylor Kimball and Chris Goplerud each made two free throws in the final five minutes to break open a 53-53 tie and give the Panthers a 63-59 victory over Frazee in the third-place game of the 10th annual Park Rapids Holiday Tournament at the Area High School gym.

Kimball finished with 26 points and Ridlon added 25 points and 21 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who improved to 1-5 on the season.

"The kids had to put up quite a fight to get the win," said Park Rapids head coach Matt Brandt. "It was great to see the kids close out a close game. It was a total team effort and it paid off for the kids."

After a pair of baskets by Kimball gave the Panthers a quick 4-2 lead, Frazee went on a 10-0 run to claim a 12-4 lead with 9:23 to play in the first half.

The Hornets didn't trail the rest of the half, but four inside baskets by Ridlon, a 3-pointer by Kimball and a layup off a steal by Kimball tied the game at 20-20 with 1:03 remaining before halftime. Two free throws by Josh Crist kept the Panthers within 24-22 at the break.

Frazee led 29-24 early in the second half before layups by Ridlon and Kyle Goplerud, a layup off a steal and a 3-pointer by Kimball, a basket off a rebound by Ridlon and a 3-pointer by Kimball gave the Panthers a 38-35 lead with 13:27 remaining.

A jumper by Ridlon, a layup and 3-pointer by Kimball, a basket off a rebound by Scott Wolff, layups by Kyle Goplerud and Kimball, and a jumper by Ridlon helped Park Rapids force a 53-53 tie with 5:04 to play.

Ridlon's layup at the 4:51 mark and two free throws with 4:06 to play gave Park Rapids a 57-53 lead before another layup by Ridlon with 3:21 left, two free throws by Kimball with 2:19 remaining and two free throws by Chris Goplerud with 28 seconds to go sealed the win.

The Panthers, who shot only 39 percent (32 for 82) from the line in their first five games, shot only 50 percent (11 for 22) from the line against Frazee, but hit six in a row when it counted to pull off the win.

Chris Goplerud added 11 rebounds, four assists and four steals while Kimball had five rebounds and four steals. Kyle Goplerud also had five rebounds while Wolff blocked two shots.

Daniel Janu led a balanced attack with 14 points as Frazee fell to 1-8 on the season.

"Frazee has come a long ways since last year. They bring a great deal of height in the paint. One main factor that helped us get the victory was our ability to control the boards. We gave ourselves many extra opportunities on the offensive side, which was nice to see. Another big key was our free throws down the stretch," said Brandt. "Taylor and Christian played very well. It was very nice to see them step up and lead the team as they did. I now have to keep them playing like this and more wins should come our way. The boys were very happy to get the first win of the season. Hopefully we can continue to build off this success as we get ready for some tough games ahead."

FRAZEE: Burt 3 1-2 8, Bachmann 5 0-0 10, Hanson 3 3-4 10, Green 2 0-0 5, Janu 6 2-4 14, Brower 4 4-6 12. Totals: 23 (FG), 10 for 16 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: T. Ridlon 0 0-0 0, Kimball 10 2-4 26, C. Goplerud 0 2-6 4, Peterson 0 0-2 0, C. Ridlon 10 5-8 25, Crist 0 2-2 2, K. Goplerud 3 0-0 6, Wolff 1 0-0 2, Waller 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 for 61 (FG), 11 for 22 (FT).

Halftime: Frazee 24, Park Rapids 22. Three-point field goals: Burt 1, Hanson 1, Green 1, Kimball 4. Team fouls: Frazee 23, Park Rapids 17. Rebounds: Park Rapids 49 (C. Ridlon 21, C. Goplerud 11, Kimball 5, K. Goplerud 5, Crist 3, Wolff 3, Peterson 1). Assists: Park Rapids 12 (C. Goplerud 4, C. Ridlon 2, Crist 2, Wolff 2, K. Goplerud 1, Peterson 1). Steals: Park Rapids 12 (Kimball 4, C. Goplerud 4, C. Ridlon 2, Crist 1, K. Goplerud 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 3 (Wolff 2, C. Ridlon 1). Turnovers: Park Rapids 22.

Sauk Centre opens with win

The Panthers started strong in last Tuesday night's tournament opener before Sauk Centre used a 42-6 run to take control and advance to the championship game with a 74-43 victory.

A layup off a steal by Christian Ridlon, a jumper by Tyler Ridlon, a jumper by Chris Goplerud, a 3-pointer by Kimball and a layup by Crist gave the Panthers an 11-7 lead at the 12:47 mark of the first half.

After a jumper by Wolff, Kimball was credited with a 3-pointer when his pass from beyond the arc was deflected into the basket as Park Rapids led 16-10 at the 11:59 mark.

Sauk Centre then closed the half with a 25-6 run to carry a 35-22 lead into the break. Chris Goplerud had two inside baskets and Christian Ridlon had a layup for the Panthers' only points in the final 11:59.

Patrick Knoblauch hit a pair of 3-pointers as Sauk Centre opened the second half with a 17-0 run to push the lead to 52-22 with 13:22 to play.

Wolff's jumper at the 13:04 mark, Kimball's layup with 12:32 to play and another basket by Wolff with 12:07 to go ended that run.

Layups by Tyler Ridlon and Kimball helped the Panthers close the deficit to 56-36 with 6:32 to go, but the Mainstreeters responded with an 18-7 run to end the game. Jordan Bergquist had two jumpers and John Massie hit a 3-pointer to account for the Panthers' points down the stretch.

Kimball led the Panthers with 11 points while Chris Goplerud (9) and Christian Ridlon (7) combined for 16 rebounds. Christian Ridlon, Crist and Kyle Goplerud had two assists each while Chris Goplerud had three steals and Ryan Peterson blocked three shots.

Nick Adams scored 18 points to lead a balanced attack for Sauk Centre, which improved to 5-3.

SAUK CENTRE: Otte 2 0-0 4, P. Knoblauch 6 2-3 16, M. Knoblauch 2 0-0 4, Hinnenkamp 0 2-2 2, Ellis 4 2-3 10, Winters 4 5-11 13, Adams 6 6-6 18, Rieland 1 0-0 2, Leen 2 1-4 5. Totals: 27 (FG), 18 for 29 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: T. Ridlon 2 0-0 4, Kimball 4 1-2 11, C. Goplerud 3 0-0 6, Peterson 0 1-2 1, C. Ridlon 2 2-2 6, Bergquist 2 0-0 4, Randall 0 0-0 0, Crist 1 0-2 2, K. Goplerud 0 0-0 0, Massie 1 0-0 3, Wolff 3 0-0 6, Waller 0 0-2 0. Totals: 18 for 56 (FG), 4 for 10 (FT).

Halftime: Sauk Centre 35, Park Rapids 22. Three-point field goals: P. Knoblach 2, Kimball 2, Massie 1. Team fouls: Sauk Centre 13, Park Rapids 22. Fouled out: K. Goplerud, Kimball. Rebounds: Park Rapids 36 (C. Goplerud 9, C. Ridlon 7, Crist 5, Wolff 4, K. Goplerud 3, Peterson 3, Kimball 2, T. Ridlon 2, Randall 1). Assists: Park Rapids 8 (C. Ridlon 2, Crist 2, K. Goplerud 2, Kimball 1, Bergquist 1). Steals: Park Rapids 8 (C. Goplerud 3, C. Ridlon 2, T. Ridlon 2, Kimball 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 4 (Peterson 3, Wolff 1). Turnovers: Park Rapids 23.