Frazee followed a 12-0 run with a 20-0 run to build a 45-21 lead before holding off a late charge by the Park Rapids girls basketball team for a 54-42 win in the season opener at Frazee on Thursday, Jan. 14.

“I thought we started out a little sluggish. We are going to chalk that up as being Game 1 and maybe not 100% confident in our roles within the new system,” said Park Rapids head coach Nic Lembcke. “I did see some good things from the girls throughout the game though. Our defensive rotations are coming along. We are just a bit slow sometimes on our help responsibilities. I believe we will dramatically improve on the defensive end as the season progresses.”

A 3-pointer by Hannah Morgan and a layup by Abby Morris led Park Rapids to an 8-8 tie before the Hornets went on a 12-0 run for a 20-8 advantage. Tori Weaver and Gabi Shepersky scored off rebounds, Olivia Davis had two inside baskets, and Shepersky hit a 3-pointer as the Panthers cut the gap to 25-21 with 3:20 to play in the first half.

Frazee regained control by closing the half with a 7-0 run and opening the second half with a 13-0 spurt to build a 45-21 lead. A jumper by Shepersky ended the Hornets’ run and was Park Rapids’ first points over a scoreless span of 7:22.

The Hornets led 48-24 with 8:12 to play before Weaver followed three free throws with a 3-pointer and a layup off a steal while Shepersky had a layup and hit a 3-pointer as Park Rapids trailed 52-42 with 2:16 left. Two free throws by Frazee concluded the scoring.

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Weaver led the Panthers with 15 points and six rebounds while Shepersky added 12 points and five rebounds. Morris also had six rebounds and Mickey Clark joined Weaver with four steals. Park Rapids turned the ball over 17 times and made only 4 of 23 3-point shots.

Dani Piche (13) and Ellie Reierson (11) led a balanced scoring attack for Frazee.

“Without a normal summer and only eight practices to prepare, we really only have our base offense in. However, the girls got some good shots out of it. We left a lot of points on the board in missed layups and good 3-point looks. Those will start to drop as we get further into the season,” said Lembcke. “At times, we over penetrated and tried to make tough, contested shots in traffic instead of kicking the ball back out. Again, this is something that we will continue to improve, as well as adding some quick hitters into the offense to get ourselves a specific look. We are going to focus on the positive takeaways from Frazee and focus on continuing to improve and coming together as a team.”

PARK RAPIDS: Morris 1 0-0 2, Johnson 1 2-4 4, Weaver 3 8-10 15, Davis 2 0-2 4, Morgan 1 0-0 3, Clark 0 2-2 2, Tretbar 0 0-0 0, Maninga 0 0-0 0, Shepersky 5 2-2 12. Totals: 12 for 47 (FG), 14 for 20 (FT).
FRAZEE: Starry 2 5-5 9, A. Reierson 3 1-2 8, Piche 4 3-4 13, E. Reierson 4 3-8 11, Olson 1 2-4 4, Kropuenske 3 3-4 9. Totals: 17 for 38 (FG), 17 for 27 (FT).
Halftime: Frazee 32, Park Rapids 21. Three-pointers: Weaver 1, Morgan 1, Shepersky 2, A. Reierson 1, Piche 2. Team fouls: Park Rapids 22, Frazee 17. Fouled out: Morris. Rebounds: Park Rapids 24 (Morris 6, Weaver 6, Shepersky 5, Maninga 3, Davis 2, Clark 1, Morgan 1). Assists: Park Rapids 3 (Clark 1, Morgan 1, Morris 1). Steals: Park Rapids 10 (Clark 4, Weaver 4, Johnson 1, Shepersky 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 5 (Shepersky 2, Davis 1, Morris 1, Weaver 1). Turnovers: Park Rapids 17.