Matt Brandt said defense would be the key to success for the Park Rapids boys basketball team this season.

The Panthers picked up the defensive intensity down the stretch in a 40-39 victory over Rothsay at the Area High School gym on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Rothsay held a 32-26 lead with 6:17 to play before the Panthers closed the game with a 14-7 run to rally for the win.

A 3-pointer by Kaiden Walsh and two jumpers and two free throws by Nick Michaelson tied the game at 36-36 with 2:24 to play. A layup off a steal by James Hartig with 1:45 left and two free throws by Hartig with 1:18 remaining gave the Panthers a 40-36 edge.

Tanner Heier hit a 3-pointer as Rothsay cut the gap to 40-39 with 1:01 to go. The Tigers had two chances to win the game in the final 10 seconds, but couldn’t convert on two jumpers.

Heier (9) and Ethan Curtis (6) combined for 15 points as Rothsay led 20-18 at the half. Hartig (9) and Michaelson (6) combined for 15 points for the Panthers in the first half.

A jumper by Michaelson and a 3-pointer by Walsh gave Park Rapids a 25-22 lead with 10:53 to play before 3-pointers by Colby Larson and Curtis sparked a 10-1 run that gave the Tigers a 32-26 lead.

Park Rapids’ defense allowed only three baskets the rest of the way to spark the comeback.

Hartig (16) and MIchaelson (14) combined for 30 points to lead the Panthers.

Heier finished with 18 points and Curtis added 11 points as Rothsay fell to 0-2 on the season.

ROTHSAY: Heier 18, Curtis 11, Larson 5, Carrillo 4, Fiedler 1.
PARK RAPIDS: Hartig 16, Michaelson 14, Walsh 6, Ohm 2, Haas 1, Arola 1.
Halftime: Rothsay 20, Park Rapids 18. Three-pointers: Heier 3, Curtis 3, Larson 1, Walsh 2, Hartig 1.

Frazee tops Panthers

After a back-and-forth first half, Frazee followed a 12-2 run with a 15-2 run to take control in a 66-47 win over the Panthers in a game between Section 8AA teams at the Area High School gym on Friday, Dec. 6.

A jumper by Kolby Brandt was followed by a layup and a 3-pointer by Hartig as the Panthers jumped out to a 7-3 lead.

Jack Courneya and Justin Courneya hit 3-pointers during a 9-0 run as Frazee claimed a 12-7 lead with 12:33 to play in the first half. A jumper by Shawn Ohm and two layups by Hunter Brandt kept Park Rapids within 14-13 at the 10:37 mark before a 3-pointer by Cole Fleisher helped the Hornets extend their lead to 21-13 with 9:14 remaining.

A three-point play and a 3-pointer by Walsh along with a jumper by Ohm tied the game at 21-21 at the 5:07 mark. Another 3-pointer by Jack Courneya offset two jumpers by Ohm as Frazee led 26-25 at the half.

Hartig’s layup to open the second half gave the Panthers a 27-26 advantage with 17:26 to play before a jumper by Reid Eckert gave Frazee the lead for good as Broden Fleisher’s 3-pointer capped off a 12-2 run to give the Hornets a 38-29 lead with 14:52 to go.

Two jumpers by Michaelson and a layup by Jeff Haas cut the gap to 38-35 with 13:21 remaining before Frazee regained control as a 3-pointer by Justin Courneya, two 3-pointers by Broden Fleisher, a 3-pointer by Jack Courneya and a three-point play by Cole Fleisher produced a 53-37 lead with 10:19 remaining.

Hartig hit a 3-pointer, Haas hit a jumper and Isaiah Olson hit a jumper for the Panthers down the stretch.

Hartig finished with 12 points as the Panthers fell to 1-2.

Broden Fleisher (16), Cole Fleisher (15), Jack Courneya (12), Justin Courneya (12) and Eckert (10) led a balanced attack for Frazee, which improved to 2-0.

FRAZEE: Ja. Courneya 4 1-5 12, Ju. Courneya 4 2-3 12, C. Fleisher 5 3-3 15, B. Fleisher 6 1-2 16, Eckert 4 2-6 10, Winn 0 1-2 1. Totals: 23 (FG), 10 for 21 (FT).
PARK RAPIDS: Hartig 4 2-3 12, Haas 2 0-0 4, Walsh 2 1-1 6, Michaelson 3 0-0 6, K. Brandt 2 1-2 5, Olson 1 0-0 2, Arola 0 0-0 0, Yliniemi 0 0-3 0, Harmon 0 0-0 0, VanBatavia 0 0-0 0, H. Brandt 2 0-0 4, Phillippi 0 0-0 0, Ohm 4 0-0 8. Totals: 20 (FG), 4 for 9 (FT).
Halftime: Frazee 26, Park Rapids 25. Three-pointers: Ja. Courneya 3, Jo. Courneya 2, C. Fleisher 2, B. Fleisher 3, Hartig 2, Walsh 1. Team fouls: Frazee 17, Park Rapids 17.