MORRIS — In a game that was moved to Monday after Saturday’s snowstorm was expected, the Parkers Prairie Panthers came on like a storm on the court as they defeated the West Central Area boys’ basketball team 61-41 in the Section 6A playoffs.
The Knights played a great first half leading 16-15 midway through the half. The Panthers made a little run at the five-minute mark to gain the lead but the Knights scored to end the half cutting the Panthers lead to 32-27 at the half.
The Panthers outscored the Knights 29-14 in the second half to seal the victory.
“We still played decent in the second half, we just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop shooting 6-for-23 in the half,” Knights head coach Kraig Hunters said. “The stats will show that things were pretty even except for field goal percentage. We also didn’t get a lot of second chances on the offensive boards. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, but their size inside does a good job of cleaning the glass.”
The big difference was the Panthers inside game as they hit 25-for-50 from the field as a team for 50 percent, compared to the Knights 17-for-46 for 37 percent. The Panthers size held a slight 36-28 edge on the boards.
Gage Staples led the Knights with 16 points, while teammate Jack Van Kempen added 10 points.
The Panthers were led by their inside game as their two post players Travis Yohnke and Josh Helling as each had 16 points. Teammates Alex Koep (11) and Noah Koep (10) were also in double figures.
“It was a very successful season for our guys having close to no varsity experience and playing a difficult schedule to have a 15-10 record and to play a pretty high level of basketball. We are all sad to say goodbye to seniors Gavin Paulson and Teigen Moritz. You can’t find better character people than them. They are two of the leaders in our school and they always made our program proud with the way they carried themselves throughout their careers. I hope our younger guys learned from their work ethic because they were probably the hardest two workers on our team,” Hunters said.
The Knights finish the season with a 14-8 record.