A quick start and a strong finish enabled the Park Rapids boys basketball team to split the season series with Detroit Lakes jumping on the Lakers early in a 79-71 Mid-State Conference victory at the Area High School gym on Thursday, Feb. 25.
The Panthers jumped out to a 14-1 lead and held a 55-32 advantage in the second half before holding off a late DL rally.
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 in an opening 18 minutes that was all Panthers.
The Lakers adjusted at halftime scoring 49 points in the final 18 minutes, but could not erase a 19-point deficit.
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 left in the game.
Detroit Lakes 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.
The Panthers pushed back to lead by nine points at the 5:20 mark 67-58.
Layups by Harmon and Michaelson kept Park Rapids in front 71-63 with 90 seconds to play before the Panthers sealed the win making six free throws down the stretch.
Michaelson finished with 23 points as the Panthers avenged an 80-67 loss at Detroit Lakes on Jan. 26. Van Batavia (14), Harmon (14) and Jackson (11) also scored in double figures as Park Rapids improved to 2-5 in the conference and 3-8 overall.
Oistad finished with 35 points and posted his biggest double-double of the season with 23 rebounds. DL's center has posted big games in both matchups with Park Rapids. Oistad went for 37 and 14 in the first matchup Jan. 27 at Ralph Anderson Gymnasium.
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.
Park Rapids 79, Detroit Lakes 71
DL 22 49 - 71
PR 41 35 - 79
DL - Nate Cihak 7, Matthew Tobkin 1, Caeden Yliniemi 15, Clay Perkins 11, Christian Solberg 2, Zack Oistad 35.
PR - James Hartig 9, Zach Van Batavia 14, Isaiah Olson 6, Parker Harmon 14, Logan Jackson 11, Nick MIchaelson 23, Kaiden Walsh 2.