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Kent Hjelseth expected the Nevis girls basketball team to produce a winning record this season. Going 18-9 exceeded the expectations of the Tigers' head coach. "We entered the season with a goal of finishing .500 for the season," said Hjelseth. "The players improved individually and as a team and exceeded my expectations." The Tigers finished third in the Northwoods Conference standings with an 11-3 record, just one game behind the 12-2 records of co-champions Pine River-Backus and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Having success during the regular season has become a tradition for the Park Rapids-Menahga boys hockey team. Unfortunately, the Panthers haven't been able to extend that success to the postseason. The Panthers followed another successful regular season with a loss in the Section 8A quarterfinals to finish with a 16-8-2 overall record. Over the last five seasons, the Panthers have won at least 15 games.
Considering injuries kept the Park Rapids gymnastics team from fielding its best lineup most of the season, the Panthers scored consistently all season. Injuries resulted in the Panthers missing key gymnasts in eight of the 13 meets. Those injuries resulted in Park Rapids surpassing 120 points only once. On the positive side, those injuries enabled some younger gymnasts to compete at the varsity level.
Advancing to the Section 5A West championship game proved costly for the Nevis boys basketball team. Nevis, the No. 3 seed, upset No.
Chris Albee was looking for the Park Rapids-Menahga-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team to continue to close the gap on the other teams in Section 8A. Despite matching last year's total of one win against section opponents, the Panthers did close the gap on the other teams in the section. Last season, the Panthers went 1-7 in the section en route to an 8-14 overall record. Park Rapids was shut out three times in those games while being outscored 47-7. This season, the Panthers had a 1-9 record against section opponents, but were only shut out twice in being outscored 33-13.
Nolan Toft's four consecutive baskets midway through the first half gave Nevis the lead for good as the Tigers eliminated Menahga from the Section 5A boys basketball tournament with a 77-61 victory Thursday night at the Tiger Arena. Menahga, the No. 6 seed in the west half of the section, held the lead until the 8:17 mark of the first half before Toft sparked the No.
Missed free throws cost the Park Rapids boys basketball team a victory in the first meeting against Frazee this season. The Panthers made sure missing clutch free throws down the stretch wouldn't be a factor in the rematch Monday night. Back in December, the Panthers missed 20 of 32 free throws in a 74-73 double-overtime loss to Frazee. In the Section 8AA South playoff opener Monday night at the Area High School gym, the Panthers missed 15 of 39 free throws.
Jared Nash and John Drury were looking to cap off their senior seasons by bringing home medals from the state Class A wrestling tournament. Both Park Rapids seniors completed that mission. Nash finished fourth at 171 pounds and Drury finished sixth at 189 pounds Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center to give the Panthers two state placewinners. Two other Park Rapids wrestlers also qualified for their first state trip.
Nevis and Menahga had their girls basketball seasons come to an end with losses in the Section 5A West quarterfinals Thursday night. Nevis, the No. 5 seed, opened the playoffs with a 36-25 loss at No. 4 Pine River-Backus while No. 9 Menahga was eliminated with a 74-41 loss at No. 1 Bertha-Hewitt. Menahga opened the playoffs with a 63-43 win at No.
The Nevis boys basketball team ended the regular season by defeating two Section 5A rivals and losing two tough games to state-ranked teams. Nevis had a shot to share the Northland Conference title on Feb. 26, but Cass Lake used a 15-0 run in the second half to spark an 84-75 victory at the Tiger Arena. That loss dropped Nevis to 11-3 in the conference while Cass Lake, which is rated No. 6 in the latest state Class A poll, improved to 12-1.