The #1 seeded Parkers Prairie Panthers defeated the West Central Area Knights at UM-Morris by a score of 61-41 on Monday night in the Section 6A south semi-finals. #2 seeded Ortonville defeated Hancock 58-39 in the other semi-final. Parkers Prairie and Ortonville will face off for the South Sub-Section championship on Wednesday night at UMM.
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 27-32 at the half.
The Panthers outscored the Knights 29-14 in the second half. Knight Coach Kraig Hunter said, "We still played decent in the second half, we just couldn't put the ball in the hoop shooting 6-23 in the half. 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."
Turnovers were 11 to 11 for the two teams. The Knights hit 7-12 free throws and the Panthers 9-18. The Panthers size held a slight 36-28 edge on the boards.
The big difference was the Panthers inside game as they hit 25-50 from the field as a team for 50% compared to the Knights 17-46 for 37%.
Gage Staples led the Knights with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists; Jack VanKempen had 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists: Grant Beuckens had 6 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals; Teigen Moritz had 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists; Jacob Bright had 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and a team leading 4 steals; Tate Christenson had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist; Blake Koloski had 1 point and 2 assists, and Gavin Paulson added 2 rebounds.
The Panthers were led by their inside game as their two post players Travis Yohnke and Josh Helling each had 16 points. Alex Koep had 11 points, Noah Koep had 10 points, Andrew Warren 5, Eli Simonson 2, and Preston Yohnke 1.
Coach Hunter said, "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."