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Boys basketball: Patriots fall to Esko in section final

Team captains Owen Seidl, Jordan Schommer and Dylin Ackerman present the section runner-up trophy to a crowd of cheering Patriot fans Thursday, March 14. Dan Determan / Echo Journal 1 / 2
Jordan Schommer leaps for a layup in traffic against Esko Thursday, March 14. Dan Determan / Echo Journal 2 / 2

Senior guard Jordan Schommer scored 19 points, but the Pequot Lakes Patriot boys basketball team fell 58-45 to the Esko Eskomos in the Section 7-2A championship game in Duluth Thursday, March 14.

"In the first half, we were tight on offense," head coach Rich Spiczka said. "We didn't have a flow. Part of that is nerves - big stage in a new place - but we had a hard time getting out of that funk."

The Patriots found baskets hard to come by early in the game, as the Eskomos built an early lead they would never give up. The outside shooting - a key factor in the team's success this season - was all but absent on Thursday night.

Despite shooting woes, the Patriots stayed close thanks in part to solid defense, fast break scoring and drives by Schommer, Sean Ryan and Bode Magnuson. The team was down just five points at the halftime break, and pulled to with two early in the second half before Esko pulled away.

"We didn't get a lot of clean looks," Spiczka said. "Kudos to their defense. We didn't make plays, and we had that key stretch in the second half where we gave up two offensive rebounds and they made a 3."

Ryan managed to score 11 points in the game and Magnuson had seven. As a team, the Patriots shot just 40 percent from the field and 20 percent from behind the arc as they finish with runner-up hardware and a 23-7 record.

"Our kids had a great year," Spiczka said. "Not many teams get to win the last one ... We got a lot deeper than any team has in 10 or 15 years. It didn't end the way we wanted, but they left all on the court a whole bunch of games in a row here at the end."

With their season now over, the Patriots part ways with eight seniors.

"They are a selfless group," Spiczka said. "Everyone bought into their role and kept plugging away. Every time I thought 'maybe they don't have anything left,' they found some more ... As a unit, they were always together and always connected, and that is the reason we got as far as we did."

Esko 19 26—45

Pequot Lakes 24 34—58

ESKO

James Legarde 3, Jon Stodola 3, Payton Wefel 12, Riley Fischer 2, Corey Kauma 10, Trevor Spindler 8, Camden Berger 20. FG 16-32 (50 percent), FT 21-24 (88 percent). 3-point 5-13 (38 percent).

PEQUOT LAKES

Sean Ryan 11, Dylin Ackerman 3, Bode Magnuson 7, Tyler Manley 2, Jordan Schommer 19, Vincent Miska 3. FG 16-40 (40 percent), FT 9-17 (53 percent). 3-point 2-10 (20 percent).

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.

(218) 855-5879