There’s a new head coach at the helm, but the Patriot girls’ basketball team seems to have plenty of experience to make waves in the postseason.

Last season the Patriots compiled a 16-14 record, made more impressive by the fact they started the year losing eight of the first nine games, and finished second in the Mid-State Conference with a 7-3 record.

After the slow start, the team finished with a 12-5 record, earning a spot in the Section 7-2A Finals before falling to Duluth Marshall 79-63.

“Hard work and mental toughness along with a commitment to defense and rebounding as a team will be keys for the Patriots this season,” new head coach Brian Lempola said. “They will strive to be a scrappy defensive team, utilizing their speed and quickness to play a full court game.”

The team did part with four seniors - Lola Rysavy, Rachel Voges, Cloey Traxler and Emma Benson, but have several players returning with plenty of varsity experience, including all-conference sophomore guard Maci Martini (11.7 PPG), senior guard Afton Crocker (5.2 PPG), all-conference honorable mention freshman forward Lauren Schultz (7.6 PPG) and junior guard Carly Chaney (5.2 PPG).

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Also competing for playing time will be juniors Elisa Flaws, Sydnie Wgeishofski and Morgan Eckes, sophomore Kaitlyn Geschwill and a “talented freshmen crew” consisting of Isabel Larson, Kelsi Martini and Ella Kratochvil.

“The Patriots will be very competitive if they can stay healthy, take care of the basketball, and find an inside presence and some points coming from the paint.” Lempola said. “We want to be a solid defensive team, run when we can, but also slow it down when we want to, and execute in the half court.”

In addition to the Patriots, Detroit Lakes and Crosby Ironton are also strong favorites in the Mid-State Conference, with Staples-Motley, Park Rapids and Aitkin also in the mix.

In Section 7-2A competition, Lempola expects a challenge against Duluth Marshall, Mesabi East and Proctor, along with Esko and Virginia as well.

Bret Sergent and Emilee Buell are assistant coaches.



Pequot Lakes girls’ basketball

January

21 - Detroit Lakes at Pequot Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

22 - Pequot Lakes at Aitkin, 7:15 p.m.

28 - Park Rapids at Pequot Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

February

2 - Pequot Lakes at Detroit Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

5 - Proctor at Pequot Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

12 - Crosby-Ironton at Pequot Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

13 - Roseau at Pequot Lakes, 2:15 p.m.

18 - Pequot Lakes at Staples-Motley, 7:15 p.m.

19 - Esko at Pequot Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

23 - Aitkin at Pequot Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

26 - Pequot Lakes at Moose Lake-Willow River, 7:15 p.m.

March

2 - Perham at Pequot Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

5 - Pequot Lakes at Mesabi East, 7:15 p.m.

6 - Pillager at Pequot Lakes 7:15 p.m.

8 - Pequot Lakes at Crosby-Ironton 7:15 p.m.

9 - Pequot Lakes at Park Rapids, 7:15 p.m.

11 - Pequot Lakes at Pine River-Backus, 7:15 p.m.