Boys Basketball: Nevis uses fast start to defeat Park Rapids

The Tigers improve to 3-0 with a 61-48 victory.

Park Rapids' Blake Morris (5) drives in for a layup as Nevis' JohnPaul Benson attempts to block the shot during a game at the Century School gym on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.
Vance Carson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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PARK RAPIDS – Nevis jumped out to a 29-10 lead and held off a late Park Rapids rally for a 61-48 boys basketball victory at the Century School gym on Friday, Dec. 9.

A pair of jumpers by Austin Ahrendt and a layup by Alex Lester were offset by a 3-pointer by Park Rapids’ Noah Morris and a layup by Josh Yliniemi as the Tigers led 7-5 with 13:26 to play in the first half.

Nevis expanded its lead by going on a 10-0 run. A layup by Ahrendt, two baskets off rebounds by Lester and a layup by Eli Lewis made it 17-5 at the 10:23 mark. Layups by Morris and Matt Johanning cut the gap to 17-9 with 9:08 to play in the first half before Lewis scored off a rebound, JohnPaul Benson hit a 3-pointer, Devan Lindow made a jumper and Benson scored on a layup to give the Tigers a 29-10 lead with 3:24 to go in the first half. A 3-pointer by Benson and two jumpers by Lester gave Nevis a 38-16 advantage at the intermission.

Nevis' Joe Houchin (5) drives to the basket as Park Rapids' Noah Larson defends during a game at the Century School gym on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Park Rapids opened the second half with a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to 41-29 with 14:02 to play. Morris hit a 3-pointer, Noah Larson converted a layup, Caleb Arola and Yliniemi hit jumpers, and Blake Morris scored off a steal to spark that rally.

After layups by Lester and Lindow made it 45-29 at the 12:47 mark, 3-pointers by Larson and Landon Strasburg along with Arola’s basket off a rebound rallied the Panthers to within 49-42 with 6:18 to play. The Tigers sealed the win by making 12 free throws down the stretch.


Lester scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Ahrendt added 14 points and seven rebounds to lead the Tigers, who improved to 3-0. Spencer Lindow had five rebounds and Devan Lindow and Christian Moe dished out three assists each.

“With both teams having lost a good number of players from last year, this looked to be an interesting matchup. We figured we would have a size advantage and that we would try to utilize that as much as possible. We also went into the game knowing that we would need to keep Noah Morris out of the paint off the dribble if we were going to have success defensively. We were able to do both of those things in the first half in opening up a 38-16 halftime lead,” said Nevis head coach Scott Kramer. “We were without Benson for the most part, but Lester stepped up big again and Ahrendt was effective as well. You have to credit PR for the fact that they didn’t give up at halftime and cut the lead to under 10 in the second half. We kind of felt the effects from the game with Northland the night before as we kind of ran out of gas and got sloppy.”

Larson (15) and Noah Morris (10) hit double figures for the Panthers, who fell to 0-3. Johanning grabbed eight rebounds, Yliniemi had three assists, and Arola, Blake Morris and Larson had two steals each. Park Rapids went 4 for 23 on 3-point attempts.

“The boys never quit. The biggest difference (in the second half) was that we were able to get some shots to fall and we played some better defense, both through our effort levels and that's why we were able to rally,” said Park Rapids head coach Josh Meader. “They dug deep and continued to play with maximum effort. It was a testament to who this team is becoming and who we can be late in the season.”

Nevis' Spencer Lindow looks to drive around Park Rapids' Ryan Carroll during a game at the Century School gym on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

NEVIS: Ahrendt 4 6-10 14, D. Lindow 2 4-6 8, Houchin 0 4-7 4, S. Lindow 1 2-2 4, Lester 7 5-8 19, Lewis 2 0-0 4, Moe 0 0-0 0, Benson 3 0-0 8, AJ Bessler 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 for 49 (FG), 21 for 33 (FT).

PARK RAPIDS: Arola 2 0-0 4, N. Morris 3 2-2 10, B. Morris 1 0-1 2, Yliniemi 3 0-0 6, Larson 2 10-14 15, Johnson 1 1-2 3, Strasburg 1 0-0 3, Johanning 1 1-2 3, Carroll 1 0-2 2, Harrison 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 for 56 (FG), 14 for 23 (FT).

Halftime: Nevis 38, Park Rapids 16. Three-pointers: Benson 2, N. Morris 2, Larson 1, Strasburg 1. Team fouls: Nevis 18, Park Raids 21. Fouled out: Arola. Rebounds: Park Rapids 32 (Johanning 8, B. Morris 5, Arola 4, Larson 4, N. Morris 3, Johnson 3, Carroll 3, Yliniemi 2). Assists: Park Rapids 8 (Yliniemi 3, N. Morris 2, B. Morris 2, Johanning 1). Steals: Park Rapids 8 (Arola 2, B. Morris 2, Larson 2, N. Morris 1, Johnson 1). Blocked shots: Park Rapids 1 (Arola). Turnovers: Nevis 14, Park Rapids 10.

Tigers top Remer in overtime

NEVIS – Lester’s double-double sparked the Tigers to a 53-50 overtime victory over Northland Remer at the Tiger Arena on Thursday, Dec. 8.

Lester led the Tigers with career highs of 18 points and 17 rebounds while Joe Houchin (14) and Devan Lindow (11) also scored in double figures. Houchin added six rebounds while Spencer Lindow had five rebounds and four steals. Devan Lindow dished out three assists for Nevis, which trailed 24-21 at the half.

“We knew we were in for a battle against a veteran Northland team, which has four senior starters in the lineup who are all good off the dribble and pretty good shooters from the perimeter. Add the fact that Benson was out sick, we knew we had our hands full,” said Kramer. “Two things emerged as our defense played about as well as it possibly could have and Lester was able to come in and dominate the post. It was really great for us to find a way to win this one in the absence of our leading scorer (Benson) against a quality team.”


After trailing by 19 points in the second half, the Panthers respond before falling 64-63 in a Mid-State Conference game.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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