Patriots eliminated by Rangers
The third-seeded Pequot Lakes boys' basketball team had an admirable effort, but fell short against second-seeded Crosby-Ironton 50-44 in the North Subsection 8AA semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Bemidji State University.
"I'm really pleased with the effort of our guys, and they left it all on the court," said Pequot Lakes coach Ben Starns, whose team finishes 12-15 overall while the Rangers improved to 21-7 and advanced to face Crookston in the subsection semifinals on Tuesday, March 3. "We played our best defense of the year as we were aggressive and forced several turnovers.I think the Rangers were prepared to see us play a zone again. If you hold a team like C-I to under 50 points then you have a chance to win, but we had too many shots roll out."
After losing twice to C-I this season, the Patriots surprised the Rangers by opening the semifinal game in a man-to-man defense. It slowed C-I's offense as the Rangers managed just 17 points in the first half. The problem is Pequot Lakes struggled to make its shots and also finished with 17 points in the opening half.
The Rangers led 13-9 late in the opening half before C.J. Borleis made a pair of 3-point baskets and added a layup for a 17-14 Patriots lead with 2:00 left before intermission. But Crosby's Jack Silgen hit a three-pointer to end the half tied.
"If we could have some of our shots drop, we could have had a 10-point (halftime) lead," Starns said.
C-I took control in the second half as 6-foot-3 post Daniel Hudrlik hit a 3-pointer and added a couple layups following Pequot Lakes turnovers for a 29-23 lead.
"When Hudrlik hit those three baskets it gave the Rangers come momentum, and a little later Brady Tesdahl hit a three to give C-I a 38-30 lead," Starns said. "Then we ended up having to foul them, and they made most of their free throws.
'We did try to make a comeback when Connor Davich hit a three and Larson had three layups, but we ran out of time."
Maybe it was fitting that the final points for the Rangers come on a dunk by 6-foot-5 sophomore Noah Gindorf.
"Those two big guys (Hudrlik and Gindorff) are hard to control," Starns said, "They are a solid team, but we didn't go down without a fight."
Borleis ended the game with a team-high 15 points, while Hunter Larson finished with 13 points.
Pequot Lakes 17 27 - 44
Crosby-Ironton 17 33 - 50
Jack Kreitz 7, Hunter Larson 13, CJ Borleis 15, Gage Westlund 4, Connor Davich 5. FG 17-41 (41 percent), FT 4-6 (67 percent). 3-point baskets 6.
Jack Silgen 7, Trey Jacobs 3, Brady Tesdahl 5, Ben Jordan 2, Noah Gindorff 20, Daniel Hudrlik 13. FG 15-26 (57 percent), FT 15-24 (63 percent). 3-point baskets 5.
Patriots 63, Badger-Greenbush-MR 57
On Thursday, Feb. 26, Pequot Lakes defeated the visiting sixth-seeded Badger-Greenbush-Middle River Gators in the subsection quarterfinals.
C.J. Borleis netted 17 points while Hunter Larson added 14 for the Patriots, who had lost six straight prior to beating the Gators. Larson also made some key free throws down the stretch to keep Pequot Lakes on top.
The Patriots played without Brandon Hehir, last week's Pequot Lakes Athlete of the Week who had been ill.
"It hurt us up front to have Brandon out, and we had troubles with their big guys up front," Starns said, "but some of the young guys stepped up and played well in Brandon's absence."
The senior laden Gators, who had a similar record as the Patriots, had four players score in double figures.
The Gators assumed an early 17-10 lead before the hosts rallied for a 29-26 lead at the half. Both teams made a series of turnovers to start the second half, and Pequot Lakes didn't score until Gage Westlund made a 3-pointer with 12:00 left.
The game was tied 40-40 before the Patriots took the lead for good with eight straight points as C.J. Borleis drained a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play and Josh Buell added a layup. Pequot Lakes eventually led 61-51, and held on to win.
"(Badger-MR-Greenbush) played us tough, but we hit our free throws and held them off," said Starns, whose team made 21 of 33 free throws.
Badger-G-MR 26 31 - 57
Pequot Lakes 29 34 - 63
Darius Watson 5, Wyatt Peppel 13, Matt Howell 12, Aaron Dostal 14, Logan Dvergsten 13. FT 5-13 (38 percent).
Jack Kreitz 3, Hunter Larson 14, Josh Buell 4, CJ Borleis 17, Gage Westlund 8, Connor Davich 11, Zach Sjoblad 6. FT 21-33 (64 percent).