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Patriot girls look to repeat success

The Pequot Lakes Patriot girls basketball team. Front row, from left: Bre Sewall, Kristin Skog, Mariah Rubel and Cloey Traxler. Middle Row: Kenzie Nelson, Rachel Voges, Greta Harmala, Emma-Jo Nevin, Hannah LaRock, Quinn Kratochvil, Molly Dotty, Britt Kratochvil. Back row: Emma Benson, Lola Rysavy, Olivia Lane, Corina Ruud, Karli Skog, Addie Hubbard, Sam Littman and Lyndsey Johnson.

The Pequot Lakes Patriot girls basketball team finished its past season with an overall record of 27-4 and a Mid-State Conference record of 6-2. They earned a section championship and qualified for a state tournament berth, falling to the Roseau Rams in the opening round by a score of 78-65.

As the 2016-2017 is set to begin, the Patriots will look to build on the success of the previous season.

However, when the Patriots take to the court for their opening game against Pine River-Backus on Thursday, Dec. 1, they will do so without three of last season's starters: Morgan Lohmiller, Laura Squires and high-scoring point guard Haley Wiebolt. They also lost graduating seniors Jessica Faacks and Brittny Bzdok - who spent the bulk of her senior season battling a leg injury - and will look to build of the success found in the frontcourt last season.

Coach Jon Dale, in his 17th year as the Patriots' head coach, has a career win percentage of .726 and will look to his returning letterwinners - centered around post players Corina Ruud and Olivia Lane - to increase that total.

Lane led the team last season with 353 rebounds, while Ruud had the best field goal percentage (57.2) and led the team with 85 blocked shots.

Other returning letterwinners include Sam Littman, Karli Skog, Lyndsey Johnson, Quinn Kratochvil, Molly Dotty and Kristin Skog. Britt Kratochvil, Bre Sewall, Kenzie Nelson and Addie Hubbard are also expected to contribute this season.

In the team's final game of the past season, Karli Skog and Ruud combined for 29 of the team's 65 points, while Lane pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds.

Lane and Skog were named most improved players last year, while Littman returns for her senior year after earning "best defensive player" honors.

"The girls are coming into the season with high expectations after a Section 7AA Championship and a State appearance last year," Dale said. "We hope to contend for the conference and section title and a trip back to the state tourney."

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