Three-pointers by Teagan Piecek and Ella Janzen and a pair of free throws by Ally Ehnstrom in overtime lifted Aitkin to a 50-47 Mid-State Conference win over the Park Rapids girls basketball team at the Area High School gym on Friday, Feb. 12.
Tori Weaver hit a jumper for the Panthers with 1:28 to play in regulation to tie the game at 40-40 and force extra time. After Piecek’s 3-pointer gave Aitkin a 43-40 lead at the 2:59 mark, Weaver countered with a 3-pointer at the 2:38 mark to tie the game at 43-43. Janzen then scored off a rebound and connected on a 3-pointer to give the Gobblers a 48-43 advantage with 36 seconds to go in overtime before a 3-pointer by Weaver cut the gap to 48-46 with 28 seconds left. Olivia Davis hit a free throw to make it 48-47 with :07 showing before two free throws by Ehnstrom with :04 left sealed the win to give Aitkin its first conference win of the season.
Two 3-pointers by Ehnstrom and a 3-pointer by Janzen gave Aitkin a 9-5 lead with 14:22 to play in the first half. Brooke Knutson hit a jumper and Weaver had a 3-pointer for Park Rapids in the early going. Three straight jumpers by Weaver helped the Panthers tie the game at 11-11 at the 10:34 mark. A 3-pointer by Jillian Cline gave the Gobblers a 19-14 advantage with 4:45 to play in the first half before Park Rapids went on a 13-0 run as layups by Weaver and Davis, a jumper by Mady Maninga, and a 3-pointer by Abby Morris produced a 27-19 edge at the intermission.
The Panthers extended their run by opening the second half with a jumper by Hannah Morgan and a layup by Davis for a 31-19 lead with 16:14 to play. A jumper by Weaver kept the Panthers in front 35-28 with 8:02 remaining before the Gobblers rallied to take a 37-35 lead as a 3-pointer by Piecek and a basket off a rebound by Ehnstrom sparked a 9-0 spurt.
A jumper by Weaver gave Park Rapids a 38-37 lead with 2:33 to play in regulation. A 3-pointer by Piecek with 1:48 left put the Gobblers in front 40-38 before Weaver’s jumper forced overtime. Aitkin hit some clutch shots during the 4-minute overtime to secure the win.
Weaver finished with 29 points and six steals for the Panthers, who shot 22% (17 for 76, including 4 for 23 on 3-pointers) in the game. Morris chipped in 10 rebounds, five steals and four assists while Davis had seven rebounds and Morgan dished out five assists. The Panthers, who offset 20 turnovers with 19 steals, saw their three-game winning streak end in falling to 2-3 in the conference and 3-5 overall.
Ehnstrom (17), Piecek (16) and Janzen (10) scored in double figures for the Gobblers, who improved to 1-4 in conference games and 3-6 overall. Aitkin hit 9 of 22 3-pointers to help offset 23 turnovers.
Crosby-Ironton and Pequot Lakes top the Mid-State standings with 4-1 records while Detroit Lakes follows at 4-2.