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Panthers defeat Cardinals, improve to 3-0 in conference

Park Rapids' Whitney Steffel (2) guarded Staples-Motley's Kiara Storry during Tuesday night's Mid-State Conference game. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

After exchanging layups in the opening minute, the Park Rapids girls basketball team held the lead the rest of the way to remain undefeated in Mid-State Conference play with a 65-53 victory over Staples-Motley Tuesday night at the Area High School gym.

Kaisa Coborn opened the game with a layup before a layup and 3-pointer by Rilee Michaelson gave the Panthers a 7-2 lead with 16:09 to go in the first half. A 3-pointer by Kendra Coborn, a basket off a rebound by Olivia McDonald, a jumper and layup by Michaelson, and a jumper off a steal by Kaisa Coborn made it 18-8 at the 9:34 mark.

Jaiden McCollum's jumper, a layup by Kendra Coborn and another 3-pointer by Michaelson pushed the lead to 25-12 with 5:27 to play in the first half before a jumper by Kaisa Coborn was followed by baskets off rebounds by Paige Johnson, McCollum and Michaelson. A three-point play by McCollum extended the lead to 36-21 at the 2:13 mark. Michaelson's jumper gave the Panthers a 38-29 lead at the half.

Claire Wolhowe, who scored 14 points in the first half, scored six baskets inside to spark a 14-9 run as the Cardinals cut the gap to 47-43 with 10:27 to play. A layup by Michaelson, a 3-pointer by Kaisa Coborn, and jumpers by McCollum and Kaisa Coborn led the Panthers at the start of the second half.

Two layups by McDonald, jumpers by Kortne Byer and Michaelson, and a layup by McCollum gave the Panthers a 58-45 advantage with 5:01 to play. Layups by Kendra Coborn and Michaelson in the final 3:59 sealed the win as the Panthers opened the season with three conference victories.

Michaelson (22), Kaisa Coborn (14), McCollum (11) and Kendra Coborn (8) led a balanced scoring attack for the Panthers in their first game against a Section 8AA opponent.

Wolhowe finished with 27 points as the Cardinals fell to 0-2 in the conference, 1-1 in section games and 1-3 overall.

STAPLES-MOTLEY: Erbe 2 0-0 4, Cichos 2 1-2 5, Smith 0 0-1 0, Storry 4 0-0 9, Wolhowe 11 5-7 27, Dvorak 3 0-0 6, Martin 1 0-0 2. Totals: 23 (FG), 6 for 10 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: Ka. Coborn 5 3-5 14, Ke. Coborn 3 1-2 8, P. Johnson 1 0-1 2, Michaelson 10 0-0 22, McCollum 5 1-1 11, Steffel 0 0-0 0, Kinkel 0 0-0 0, Klemmer 0 0-3 0, J. Johnson 0 0-0 0, Byer 1 0-0 2, McDonald 3 0-0 6. Totals: 28 (FG), 5 for 12 (FT).

Halftime: Park Rapids 38, S-M 29. Three-point field goals: Storry 1, Ka. Coborn 1, Ke. Coborn 1, Michaelson 2.