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The main strategy for the Park Rapids boys basketball team entering Thursday night's Section 8AA playoff opener at Crookston was to defend the 3-point line. Park Rapids executed that game plan pretty well, but the Pirates still prevailed with a 46-34 victory. Crookston made 11 3-pointers in a 74-41 win over the Panthers on Dec. 15. During the rematch in the playoffs, Park Rapids held the Pirates to only four 3-pointers and were in the game the whole way until Crookston sealed the victory by making free throws down the stretch.
For the third time this season, the Nevis boys basketball team defeated conference rival Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. The Tigers won the first two games by scores of 67-44 and 66-45 during the regular season en route to winning the Northland Conference title with a perfect 14-0 record.
Head coach Rebecca Penning and assistant coach Cyrus Gust could see the progress the members of the Park Rapids-Nevis gymnastics team made all season. Other coaches noticed it as well. Despite battling injuries and illnesses, the Panthers improved their team score in each of the first eight meets and ended the season by placing seventh out of nine teams at the Section 8A meet. All those improvements didn't go unnoticed as Penning was named the Section 8A Coach of the Year.
Michael Landquist's steal and two free throws with :08 remaining sealed Nevis' 41-37 victory over Verndale in the Section 5A North boys basketball title game Tuesday night at Pequot Lakes. Landquist finished with 15 points and Griffin Chase added 13 points for the Tigers, who improved to 27-1 with their 22nd win in a row. Nathan Sabinash scored 13 points as Verndale, the No. 3 seed, ended the season with a 21-7 record.
Griffin Chase scored 21 points and Michael Landquist added 15 points in leading the Nevis boys basketball team to a 52-35 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley in a Section 5A North playoff game Saturday night at Pequot Lakes. Nevis, the No. 1 seed, will play No. 3 Verndale in the North title game Tuesday night at 8 at Pequot Lakes. Verndale defeated No. 2 McGregor 61-41 in Saturday night's other game at Pequot Lakes. Nevis improved to 26-1 while W-H-A, the No. 5 seed, ended the season with a 16-12 record.
Menahga opened the game with a 15-0 run and followed with a 21-5 spurt to take control in an 88-46 win over Laporte in the first round of the Section 5A North boys basketball tournament Monday night at Menahga. Damon Howard scored on a layup and hit two 3-pointers and Kirby Hrdlicka converted a three-point play off a rebound and scored off a steal to give the No. 8-seeded Braves a 15-0 lead with 13:03 to play in the first half.
Menahga played the state's No. 7-ranked Class A girls basketball team even in the second half of Tuesday night's Section 5A semifinal game at Crosby. The first half was an entirely different story. Bailey Gronner hit four of Cromwell's nine 3-pointers in the first half as the No. 1-seeded Cardinals claimed a 48-10 lead at the half. Both teams scored 30 points after the break as Cromwell advanced to the section championship game to face Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
Jaiden McCollum surpassed 1,000 points in her career, but Staples-Motley had five girls score in double figures to eliminate Park Rapids with a 66-44 victory in the quarterfinals of the Section 8AA girls basketball playoffs March 4 at the University of Minnesota Crookston.
Nevis advanced while Menahga and Park Rapids saw their seasons end during Thursday night's section boys basketball tournaments. Nevis, the No. 1 seed in the North half of Section 5A, defeated No. 8 Menahga 60-31 at the Tiger Arena. Menahga ends the season with a 12-15 record while the Tigers improved to 25-1. Nevis will play No. 5 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Saturday night at 6 at Pequot Lakes in the next round. W-H-A edged No. 4 Sebeka 76-70 in overtime at Sebeka.
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis' Dillon McGee was looking to bring home another medal from the state Class A wrestling tournament. The junior from Nevis fulfilled that mission. McGee, who was the runner-up at 106 pounds last season, ended up placing sixth at 113 pounds during Saturday's finals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.