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Defense helps Panthers top Detroit Lakes

Two free throws apiece by Grant Dierkhising and Bryce Fazekas and a stellar defensive effort down the stretch helped the Park Rapids boys basketball team defeat Detroit Lakes 63-52 in a Mid-State Conference game last Friday night at the Area High...

Two free throws apiece by Grant Dierkhising and Bryce Fazekas and a stellar defensive effort down the stretch helped the Park Rapids boys basketball team defeat Detroit Lakes 63-52 in a Mid-State Conference game last Friday night at the Area High School gym.

Detroit Lakes had closed a 52-37 deficit to 56-52 with 5:07 to play before the Panthers closed out the game with a 7-0 run. Seth Overly's layup with 1:08 to play ended the scoring as the Panthers improved to 6-4 in the conference.

The Panthers never trailed in the game, but could never put Detroit Lakes away.

Tom Juberian opened the game with a 3-pointer and baskets by Kevin Vaadeland, Overly and Bryce Fazekas made it 9-4.

Three-pointers by Doug Haas and Vaadeland, three baskets by Fazekas and a pair of jumpers by Dierkhising gave the Panthers a 32-22 lead with 2:26 to play in the first half. A jumper by Dierkhising before the buzzer gave Park Rapids a 34-28 edge at the break.

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Jumpers by Dierkhising and Juberian, layups by Fazekas and Juberian, a basket off a rebound by Brady Pederson, a 3-pointer by Haas, and jumpers by Dierkhising and Fazekas extended the Panthers' lead to 52-37 with 7:32 to play.

Detroit Lakes went on a 15-4 run to close the margin to 56-52 before the Panthers' defense didn't allow a point over the final 5:07 to seal the win.

Dierkhising led the Panthers with 17 points and five assists. Fazekas added 14 points and 12 rebounds and Haas had 10 points, three steals and five assists. Overly dished out six assists as the Panthers won by shooting 61 percent from the field.

Adam Thielen scored 15 points to lead the Lakers, who fell to 3-7 in the conference and 8-15 overall.

The Panthers carried a 16-7 record into the regular season finale at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Friday night.

DETROIT LAKES: Thielen 6 2-2 15, Thomsen 2 0-0 5, Oistad 1 3-5 6, Gilson 1 6-6 8, Bormann 2 1-2 5, Kensinger 1 3-4 5, Muckenhirn 1 6-8 8. Totals: 14 of 40 (FG), 22 of 27 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: Juberian 3 0-0 7, Dierkhising 7 3-4 17, Overly 2 0-0 4, Vaadeland 3 0-0 7, Fazekas 6 2-3 14, Craig 0 0-0 0, Haas 3 2-4 10, Donatelle 0 0-0 0, Pederson 2 0-0 4. Totals: 26 of 43 (FG), 7 of 12 (FT).

Halftime: Park Rapids 34, Detroit Lakes 28. Three-point field goals: Thielen 1, Thomsen 1, Haas 2, Juberian 1, Vaadeland 1. Total fouls: Detroit Lakes 17, Park Rapids 20. Rebounds: Park Rapids 27 (Fazekas 12, Pederson 4, Haas 3, Vaadeland 3, Dierkhising 2, Overly 2, Juberian 1). Assists: Park Rapids 23 (Overly 6, Dierkhising 5, Haas 5, Craig 2, Donatelle 2, Fazekas 1, Juberian 1, Vaadeland 1). Steals: Park Rapids 10 (Haas 3, Overly 3, Craig 1, Dierkhising 1, Juberian 1, Pederson 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 4 (Fazekas 4). Turnovers: Detroit Lakes 14, Park Rapids 19.

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