A last second basket by Park Rapids Area was just enough for the No. 4 seed in the South to sneak by the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines 65-64 in double overtime.
Park Rapids Area bounced back from an eight point first half deficit and was able to get the game-winning basket with four seconds remaining in the second overtime. The Wolverines were unable to get a shot off and suffered the heartbreaking one-point defeat.
“It’s a tough loss, going into double overtime and with the ups and downs of the game,” Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Kevin Tumberg said. “They had a two-to-three point lead at the end of the game and then into overtime. We would swing the momentum back and have a two-to-three point lead. It was a very emotional game on both sides and to come up short always hurts, especially in a close one like that.”
In the team’s previous match up, the Panthers earned an 11-point victory with the Wolverines struggling to find balance. This time around, the Wolverines were able to spread out the scoring, despite having Noah Ross foul out in the second half and the loss of Ryan Anderson, who was out due to illness.
Ross led the team with 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Hunter Hawkins added 11 points and led a monsterous performance on the boards for the Wolverines. He grabbed 16 of the team’s 50 rebounds. Bereket Loer finished with 13 points as did Cooper Folkestad. Folkestad was able to grab eight rebounds as well.
“We knew we had to get more production out of more guys,” Tumberg said. “Another thing was pushed was to get the ball inside. Hawkins and Folkestad did a nice job of being big bodies in there for us. We were able to get it in there and they were rewarded with some easy buckets.”
Gabriel Bagstad led the way for the home team. He finished with 21 points and hit five of his 13 3-pointers. Jason Haas ended the game with 17 points, while Tristin Persons finished with 16 points. The Panthers were able to overcome their rebounding disadvantage. The Wolverines grabbed 18 more rebounds, 50-32. Haas and Preston Renneberg grabbed nine each.
The free throw line was unkind to both Wadena-DC and Park Rapids Area. The Wolverines were 14 of 28 at the charity stripe, while the Panthers were a dismal 11 of 28. However, the Panthers were able to force 20 turnovers opposed to the seven they committed.
Park Rapids Area improved to 13-12 while the Wolverines end their season with a 13-14 mark. It marked the final game for a dedicated senior class which featured nine varsity members.
“I could say it over, over and over about these nine seniors that we have, there are some kids like Ross, Pantages and Anderson, who never come off the floor and then there is some other guys that need just as much recognition just as well,” Tumberg said. “Alex Burckhard and Mason Evans are guys who don’t see much court time but they give us everything they got in practices and game preparations. It’s a big testament to them to go through a full season knowing you are not going to see the court much, if at all on game night, but you are part of the team and into everything you are doing. It means a lot more than I think they realize right now, but someday they will understand that. It’s a big group that I’m going to miss on a personal and a coaching level.”
Park Rapids Area will take on Hawley at 6 p.m. on March 10 at Concordia in Moorhead. Hawley advanced with a 70-51 victory. Other first round games featured Crookston defeating Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 67-56, Breckenridge rolled over Staples-Motley 84-49,Hawley earned a 70-51 victory over Thief River Falls, Osakis defeated Barnesville 66-45 and Warroad edged out Roseau 70-62 in the tournament’s first upset by seeding.Perham advanced with a 49-27 victory over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle
WDC 33 18 7 6--64
PRA 25 26 7 7--65
WDC: Bereket Loer 13, Jonathan Pantages 3, Cade Kapphahn 4, Hunter Hawkins 11, Noah Ross 20, Cooper Folkestad 13
3-pointers: Loer 3, Pantages, Ross 4 Free Throws: 14-18 Fouls:19 Fouled Out: Ross
PRA: Carter Novak 3, Jake Reish 1, Jeffery Haas 4, Jason Haas 17, Gabriel Bagstad 21, Blake Johnson 3, Tristin Persons 16
3-pointers:Novak, Jason Haas, Bagstad 5, Johnson Free Throws:11-27 Fouls: 21 Fouled Out: Jeffery Haas