by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Park Center Pirates may have struggled with Elk River in the first meeting but they dominated the rematch 73-45 on Friday evening in Elk River.
The Pirates, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, led 42-23 with a dazzling first-half performance including three dunks, four 3-point shots (all from four or five feet outside the arc), about eight steals and several blocked shots.
Probably their only mistake was Treyton Daniels getting a tech foul for briefly hanging on the rim after one of his dunks, for which the Elks got a couple free shots, made by Porter Morrell.
With the game out of reach early, there was one compelling sub-plot for Elk River fans. Clay Elrod, junior forward, entered the game 18 points short of 1,000, and reached the milestone on a close-range shot with 1:37 left. (See separate story).
Elrod and senior guard Morrell scored 19 points each, while the Pirates shut down the rest of the lineup as those two had 38 of the 45 points.
Park Center, which beat the Elks 76-63 on Jan. 4 after trailing 49-45, shares the NWSC lead with defending state champion Osseo at 16-1. The Pirates are 20-2 overall, their other loss against Class 3A’s top-ranked DeLaSalle, probably the state’s best team overall.
Quinton Hooker, the Pirates’ silky-smooth, supremely skilled six-foot guard, had 20 points including one dunk and three long 3-pointers. Daniels, 6-foot-4 guard, had 18 points with three dunks and two 3-pointers. Isiah McKay, 6-foot-2 guard, added 13 points.
The Elks are 10-6 in conference and 15-7 overall with two straight losses. Next game is Tuesday at Robbinsdale Armstrong.