The Pine River-Backus Tigers boys’ basketball team had just two wins in its first 15 games, but you can throw out the records when they matched up on Thursday, Jan. 30, at Pequot Lakes with a Highway 371 rival Patriots, which entered the game with a 7-10 record.
The non-conference game was close throughout and was tied 62-62 at the end of regulation. Pequot Lakes then dominated the overtime and outscored the visitors 10-4 for a 72-66 victory.
“We’re a young team as we start four sophomores, but the guys played hard,” said Pequot Lakes coach Shaun Howard. “It would have been a nice win for us as the guys gave it everything they had tonight.”
PR-B led 5-2 early before it was tied 13-13. The Tigers’ Hank Raph and Saul Sasse each drained 3-point shots for a 19-13 lead, but the Patriots’ Hunter Larson answered with a 3-pointer to reduce the deficit. T.J. Lukanen and Larson traded 3-pointers later in the opening half before Konrad Bueckers drained a 12-foot shot just before the buzzer to give PR-B a 32-30 halftime edge despite 15 points from Larson.
The second half was close for the first eight minutes, including being tied 42-42, when the Patriots went on a 13-0 run. John Craig’s five points and a 3-point basket by Brett Peterson, sparked the rally for a 55-42 lead. It appeared the game might be over, but the Tigers fought back with a 13-2 run to pull within 57-55 with just 3:29 left in regulation.
Pequot Lakes did lead 61-57 with 34 seconds left, but couldn’t hold the lead as Cole Larson eventually made two free throws for the Tigers that tied it 62-62.
In the overtime, C.J. Borleis made a layup and free throw to give the Patriots a 67-64 lead. Raph added a basket for the visitors, but PR-B still needed to foul as they trailed late in the overtime. Borleis then made four straight free throws and Jack Kreitz added one free throw and Pequot Lakes finished with a 72-66 win.
Borleis finished with seven points in the overtime, including making five of six free throws, and finished with 12 points. Zach Struss and Raph each tallied 15 points for the Tigers.
Patriots’ JV defeats Tigers
The Pequot Lakes junior varsity team jumped to a 14-4 lead behind a pair of 3-point baskets by Gage Westlund, and defeated PR-B 66-23 on Thursday, Jan. 30.
The Patriots dominated the second half with four 3-point baskets and outscored the Tigers 43-10. Westlund finished with 15 points while Jackson Goerges and Josh Buell each had 10, Connor Dale seven and Lucas Mumm six.
The Pequot Lakes C-team jumped to a 34-9 lead in the first half and cruised to a 49-15 win. Erik Sandelin had 11 points, Kirk Johnson added nine, Hunter Clement 10, Ben Nelson six and Mike Pluimer five.
The Patriots also won the middle level games as the seventh-grade beat PR-B 53-17 and the eight-graders jumped to a 29-1 lead before downing the Tigers 60-20.
Pine River-Backus 32 30 4 — 66
Pequot Lakes 30 32 10 — 72
Zach Semmler 2, Hank Raph 15, TJ Lukanen 10, Cole Larson 5, Konrad Bueckers 10, Tony Pederson 3, Shane Sepin 2, Saul Sasse 4, Zach Struss 15. FT 21-27 (78 percent).
Connor Davich 2, Jack Kreitz 13, Brett Peterson 12, John Craig 9, Travis Jacobson 8, Hunter Larson 16, CJ Borleis 12. 21-33 FT (64 percent).