A quick start and a strong finish enabled the Park Rapids boys basketball team to split the season series with Detroit Lakes.

The Panthers jumped out to a 14-1 lead and held a 55-32 advantage in the second half before holding off a late rally for a 79-71 Mid-State Conference victory at the Area High School gym on Thursday, Feb. 25.

“We played with more effort and locked in on defense from the start this time around. All credit goes to our guys for working their tails off the past few weeks in practice and in the game. The credit also goes to our assistant coaches who are helping get our guys locked in and ready to go each day. Bottom line, the difference was effort and intensity,” said Park Rapids head coach Josh Meader, whose team lost to Detroit Lakes 80-67 on Jan. 26. “We went in just wanting to play with more effort and intensity and to make it as difficult as possible (for DL) to take open shots. The guys were awesome at that. They were talking, closing out hard, boxing out, getting to back-side help and fronting the post. They executed on a high level.”

A 3-pointer by Nick Michaelson capped a quick start and gave the Panthers an early 14-1 advantage before another 3-pointer by Michaelson and 3-pointers by Isaiah Olson and Logan Jackson pushed the lead to 26-10 with 7:33 to play in the first half. A layup by Michaelson and a pair of 3-pointers by Zach Van Batavia made it 36-19 at the 2:48 mark before a layup by Kaiden Walsh gave Park Rapids a 41-22 cushion at the break.

Three layups by Parker Harmon, a three-point play by Jackson, a 3-pointer by Michaelson and a layup by James Hartig gave the Panthers a 55-32 advantage with 14:25 to go. The Lakers responded with a 26-6 run as six inside baskets by Zack Oistad and three 3-pointers by Caeden Yliniemi cut the gap to 61-58 with 7:05 to play.

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The Panthers responded as a jumper by Hartig and a layup by Michaelson pushed the lead to 67-58 with 5:20 remaining. Layups by Harmon and Michaelson kept Park Rapids in front 71-63 at the 1:32 mark before the Panthers sealed the win by making six free throws down the stretch.

“Our guys did keep their composer. I told them we have played with way too much effort and intensity to quit now. We need to take it through to the finish,” said Meader about his team responding to the Lakers’ late comeback bid. “Not sure they needed to hear it as I could already tell they knew that and were locked back in and ready to go again.”

Michaelson led the Panthers with a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds. Van Batavia (14), Harmon (14) and Jackson (11) also scored in double figures with Jackson contributing seven rebounds and Harmon having seven assists and six rebounds. Hartig chipped in five steals and four assists as Park Rapids improved to 2-5 in the conference and 3-8 overall.

Oistad (who had 37 points and 14 rebounds in the first meeting between these two teams) finished with 35 points and 23 rebounds while Yliniemi (15) and Clay Perkins (11) also hit double figures for the Lakers, who fell to 4-2 against conference opponents and 6-4 overall.

DETROIT LAKES: Cihak 2 1-2 7, Tobkin 0 1-2 1, Yliniemi 5 2-2 15, Perkins 5 0-1 11, Solberg 1 0-0 2, Oistad 13 8-12 35. Totals: 26 (FG), 12 for 19 (FT).
PARK RAPIDS: Hartig 4 1-3 9, Morris 0 0-0 0, Van Batavia 5 2-9 14, Olson 2 1-2 6, Harmon 4 6-10 14, Phillippi 0 0-0 0, Jackson 3 4-5 11, MIchaelson 8 4-8 23, Walsh 1 0-0 2. Totals: 27 for 62 (FG), 18 for 37 (FT).
Halftime: Park Rapids 41, Detroit Lakes 22. Three-pointers: Perkins 1, Oistad 1, Cihak 2, Yliniemi 3, Van Batavia 2, Olson 1, Jackson 1, Michaelson 3. Rebounds: Park Rapids 35 (Michaelson 14, Jackson 7, Harmon 6, Van Batavia 4, Hartig 2, Olson 2). Assists: Park Rapids 20 (Harmon 7, Hartig 4, Jackson 3, Van Batavia 2, Olson 2, Michaelson 2). Steals: Park Rapids 14 (Hartig 5, Van Batavia 3, Michaelson 3, Olson 1, Harmon 1, Jackson 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 1 (Jackson). Team fouls: Park Rapids 16. Turnovers: Park Rapids 12.

Michaelson leads way

Michaelson’s double-double of 23 points and 17 rebounds led the Panthers in a 67-58 loss to Frazee at the Area High School gym on Feb. 23.

Jackson added 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Hartig had five steals for the Panthers, who made 8 of 25 3-pointers and turned the ball over 27 times.

FRAZEE: Ja. Courneya 14, Flynn 11, Fleisher 18, Johannsen 6, Eckert 6, Ju. Courneya 12.
PARK RAPIDS: Hartig 2 0-0 6, Morris 2 0-0 5, Van Batavia 1 0-0 2, Olson 2 0-0 6, Harmon 1 1-2 4, Jackson 6 0-1 12, Michaelson 10 1-2 23, Walsh 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 for 63 (FG), 2 for 6 (FT).
Halftime: Frazee 36, Park Rapids 26. Team fouls: Frazee 14, Park Rapids 16. Three-pointers: Hartig 2, Morris 1, Olson 2, Harmon 1, Michaelson 2. Rebounds: Park Rapids 39 (Michaelson 17, Jackson 9, Hartig 4, Harmon 4, Van Batavia 3, Morris 2). Assists: Park Rapids 17 (Jackson 6, Harmon 4, Van Batavia 3, Hartig 1, Morris 1, Olson 1, Michaelson 1). Steals: Park Rapids 11 (Hartig 5, Michaelson 4, Jackson 2). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 2 (Michaelson 2). Turnovers: Park Rapids 27.