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Matt Brandt said one of the keys to success for the Park Rapids boys basketball team this season would be the ability to create offense from defense. That's what the Panthers did down the stretch Tuesday night in a 48-44 victory over Detroit Lakes in the Mid-State Conference opener for both teams at the Area High School gym.
Three pivotal spurts sparked the Menahga girls basketball team to a 65-39 win over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in a Section 5A clash at Menahga on Dec. 2. The Braves used a 12-3 run late in the first half, a 16-0 run early in the second half and a 12-0 run midway through the second half to spark the win.
Austin Jerger made 27 saves and Nolan Pederson scored a pair of goals in leading the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team to a 6-0 Mid-State Conference win over Prairie Centre Tuesday night at Long Prairie. Josh Kuhlman assisted on a goal by Micah Link at the 10:12 mark of the first period to give Park Rapids a 1-0 lead. Jerger stopped all 12 shots he faced as the North Stars held a 12-5 advantage in shots in the opening period.
The Park Rapids-Nevis gymnastics team opened the season by placing sixth at the Morris Invitational on Dec. 2. The Panthers received a 100.75 team score as Benson/KMS/Montevideo won the team title with 133 points. New London-Spicer (130.90), Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville (125.35), Morris Area/Hancock/Chokio-Alberta (110.95) and Detroit Lakes (107.90) followed in this six-team meet. Halle Landstrom's 7.90, Brianna Nelson's 7.80, Morgan Koppelman's 7.00 and Grace Litzau's 6.90 gave the Panthers a 29.60 in vault.
Both the Menahga and Nevis boys basketball teams were victorious in their season openers Friday. Tristan Aho had a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds in leading Menahga to a 51-45 victory over Goodridge/Grygla Friday afternoon at the Bemidji Sanford Center. Jonah Howard added 12 points and five rebounds. Michael Landquist (20), Luke DeWulf (16), Tom Wormley (13), Caden Kramer (9), Dylen Spain-Brist (8), Zach Henry (8), Eddie Kramer (8) and Donny Peet (7) led a balanced scoring attack as Nevis rolled to a 91-29 Northland Conference victory at Laporte.
Despite some tough challenges, Scott Kramer is counting on the Nevis boys basketball team to make a run at defending the Northland Conference and Section 5A titles this season. The Tigers return three all-conference players from a team that went 14-0 in the conference and defeated Browerville/Eagle Valley 55-52 in four overtimes in the section championship game to qualify for the state Class A tournament for the second time in school history. Nevis ended a 28-3 season with losses to Springfield (73-65) and Red Lake (52-43) at state.
Stephanie Hanson expected a record-setting season from the Park Rapids volleyball team. The Panthers delivered by repeating as Mid-State Conference champs, advancing to the Section 8AA championship match and setting a school record by going 24-3.
Aitkin's return to the Mid-State Conference wasn't a pleasant one. Kaisa Coborn hit four 3-pointers in the first half and Jordan Klemmer hit three straight baskets midway through the second half in leading the Park Rapids girls basketball team to a 61-49 victory Friday night at the Area High School gym. The Gobblers, who were playing in their first Mid-State game since leaving the conference in 1994, got off to a good start when Ramsey Moe's 3-pointer provided a 3-2 lead with 16:51 to play in the first half.
Gabe Bagstad's 25 points, eight rebounds and eight steals led the way as the Park Rapids boys basketball team opened the season with a 54-36 win at Pillager Friday night. Tristin Persons added 15 points and four steals while Jake Reish and Shawn Ohm pulled down five rebounds apiece for the Panthers, who led 22-17 at the half. Jeff Haas also had four steals as the Panthers finished with 20 steals in the game while turning the ball over only nine times. Spencer Schaefer (9) and Braeden Wangsness (8) combined for 17 points for the Huskies.
Matt Brandt in counting on improved play on the perimeter and interior to produce an improved season for the Park Rapids boys basketball team. Last season, the Panthers shot only 30 percent from the field and 51 percent at the free-throw line while turning the ball over 19.6 times a night. Park Rapids averaged only 41.3 points a game while allowing 64.4 points. Those numbers led to an 0-8 record in Mid-State Conference games and a 4-23 overall record.