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Patriots edge Cardinals 56-55

The visiting Pequot Lakes girls' basketball team edged the Staples-Motley Cardinals 56-55 on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Mid-State Conference action that wasn't decided until the final seconds.

The Patriots, who finish the regular season 7-3 for second place in the conference and 17-8 overall, are seeded second and will host No. 7 East Grand Forks in the Section 8AA quarterfinals at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 5.

Against the Cardinals, the Patriots trailed 53-50 with 2:45 remaining before Pequot Lakes' Sam Littman hit a 10-foot shot to reduce the deficit. The Patriots grabbed a 54-53 lead when Corina Ruud scored, but S-M's Amber Robben made a pair of free throws and the Cardinals were ahead with 56 seconds remaining.

Pequot Lakes regained the lead 16 seconds later when LIttman scored on a putback for what proved to be the winning basket. The Cardinals did have a chance following a Patriot turnover with 9.1 seconds remaining. Robben drove for the basket, but Pequot Lakes' Caitie Ryan jarred the ball loose and teammate Haley Wiebolt grabbed the ball as time expired.

A big difference in the game was the Patriots' dominance in the paint with their size advantage.

"That is one of (S-M's) weaknesses," Pequot Lakes coach Jon Dale said of the Cardinals' limited size. "I think we controlled the boards pretty well, and we wanted to try to limit their second-chance points."

S-M led most of the first half, although the visitors rallied to tie it 29-29 after a basket by Laura Squires, and then take a 35-31 halftime lead on baskets by Littman and Wiebolt.

The Patriots assumed a 44-38 second-half lead on Morgan Lohmiller's short jumper. But the Cardinals roared back with an 11-0 run to take a 51-46 lead with 5:15 left. The Patriots regained the momentum and came away with the win in the final minute.

Robben finished with 23 points for the Cardinals, who end the regular season 6-4 in the conference and 18-6 overall. Wiebolt led the Patriots with 15 points while Littman added 10.

"I can't believe that in my senior year we beat (S-iM) at their place," said Ryan. "That's a great feeling."

Dale said his team did a "nice defensive job" on the Cardinals' Grace Wolhowe.

"She didn't have many uncontested shots after the first few minutes," Dale said of Wolhowe, who was limited to 10 points. "Overall, we played a nice game, especially Sam Littman."

The Pequot Lakes' junior varsity and C-teams both finished their seasons with wins at Staples-Motley.

The JV squad led 24-16 at the half, and went on to win 53-44 to finish 19-5 overall.

Karli Skog led the Patriots with 18 points while Maggie Miska added 16, Olivia Lane seven, Molly Dotty six, Jessica Faacks four, and Kristin Skog and Lindsey Johnson two each.

The C-team led the Cardinals 19-10 at the half and went on to win 35-13 to finish with a 12-5 record. Bre Sewall had a game-high 10 points while Quinn Kratochvil added nine, Mallory Goerges five, and Elsa Headlee, Molly Dotty, Victoria Popehn, Jannah Hall and Lindsey Johnson one basket each.

Pequot Lakes 35 21 - 56

Staples-Motley 31 24 - 55

PEQUOT LAKES

Caitie Ryan 5, Haley Wiebolt 15, Brittny Bzdok 6, Kelsey Hart 6, Emilee Buell 4, Morgan Lohmiller 2, Corina Ruud 6, Laura Squires 2, Sam Littman 10. FG 27-63 (42 percent), FT 1-7 (14 percent). 3-point 1-10 (10 percent).

STAPLES-MOTLEY

Kelsie Weite 2, Chelsea Nanik 5, Megan Dumpprope 10, Grace Wolhowe 10, Claire Wolhowe 4, Amber Robben 23. FG 20-55 (43 percent), FT 11-14 (79 percent). 3-point 3-9 (33 percent).

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