Boys Basketball: Patriot boys take fifth at state
The consolation championship is one spot higher than they finished last year.
ST. PAUL — The Pequot Lakes boys basketball team finished its season on a high note, claiming a 50-43 over Maple River in the consolation championship game of the Class 2A State Tournament on Thursday, March 23, at Concordia University in St. Paul.
“I think our kids performed well,” head coach Rich Spiczka said. “We beat the No. 3-seeded team and the No. 4 seeded team. I think we made a pretty good case for the fact we were under-seeded. Not very many teams get to play 33 games in a year, and we’ve gotten to do that twice in a row now. Only 12 teams in Minnesota get to win their last game, and we were one of them. When you put it all together, it was a pretty special week and a pretty special couple of seasons.”
Seniors Eli Laposky and Grant Loge each had 11 points for the Patriots in the final game of the season. Brayden Spiczka had nine points – all coming off second-half 3-pointers – and Conner Quale added nine as well for a Patriot team that made 12 of its 15 free throw attempts.
Defensively, the Patriots held Maple River to just 18 points in the second half.
Pequot Lakes finished the season with an overall record of 27-6. The team won its first five games, but then lost five of their next six before their dramatic turnaround.
“We challenged them in January … to come together and play as a unit and all that type of stuff, and the message didn’t fall on deaf ears,” Spiczka said. “We won 19 in a row after that conversation, and 21 of the last 22 games they played together. Obviously, they were willing to take the message and make some changes.”
The team now parts ways with six seniors, including top scorers Laposky, Loge and Gaven Kennen.
“They were a huge part of us going (to state) in back-to-back years,” Spiczka said. “We are probably graduating 75-80% of our scoring, and that is going to be tough to replace.”
Maple River 25 18 — 43
Pequot Lakes 18 32 — 50
Wyatt Birr 2, Hayden Niebuhr 23, Will Sellers 5, Aaron Pawlitschek 7, Mason Schirmer 6. FG 18-40 (45%), FT 5-9 (55.6%). 3-point 2-13 (15.3%).
Eli Laposky 11, Bryar Nordby 4, Gavin Kennen 6, Grant Loge 11, Conner Quale 9, Brayden Spiczka 9. FG 15-38 (39.5%), FT 12-15 (75%). 3-point 8-22 (36.4%).
Pequot Lakes 51, P-E-M 42
ST. PAUL — The Patriots rebounded from an opening-round loss with an 51-42 win over Plainview-Elgin-Millville in State Consolation Semifinals Wednesday, March 22.
Kennen led the way for the Patriots with 18 points, while Loge had 13 and Laposky added 10.
The Patriots managed to hold Plainview-Elgin-Millville to 0% shooting from three-point range, and they forced 14 turnovers.
Plainview-Elgin-Millville 23 19 — 42
Pequot Lakes 24 27 — 51
Jace Schumacher 2, Aeron Stevens 27, Kaiden Peters 8, Jameson Brinkman 3. FG 16-38 (42.1%), FT 10-12 (83.3%). 3-point 0-6 (0%).
Eli Laposky 10, Gavin Kennen 18, Grant Loge 13, Conner Quale 2, Brayden Spiczka 8. FG 22-48 (45.8%), FT 1-2 (50%). 3-point 6-21 (28.6%).
Albany 69, Pequot Lakes 53
MINNEAPOLIS — The Patriots first loss since Jan. 17 came at the hand of the No. 2 Albany Huskies by a score of 69-53 in the opening round of the State Class 2A Tournament on Tuesday, March 21.
Loge led the way with a game-high 23 points, but the team shot just 37.9% from the field and 29.2% from behind the arc.
“I think our kids showed a really good effort,” Spiczka said. “I think we're unjustly seeded, playing one of the clear-cut favorites in the first round, but our kids responded well to that. I feel like if we had shot the ball at our normal percentage on Tuesday, the game would have come down to the last four or five possessions, but we just couldn’t throw it in the ocean in the first half.”
Laposky and Kennen each added 10 points for the Patriots as their 19-game winning streak was snapped by the Huskies.
Albany 27 42 — 69
Pequot Lakes 18 35 — 53
Ezekia Austin 13, Carter Voss 6, Tanner Reis 4, Tysen Gerads 19, Samuel Hondl 20, Ethan Borgerding 7. FG 26-50 (52%), FT (75%). 3-point 8-17 (47.1%).
Eli Laposky 10, Gavin Kennen 10, Grant Loge 23, Conner Quale 4, Brayden Spiczka 6. FG 22-58 (37.9%), FT 2-3 (66.7%). 3-point 7-24 (29.2%).
Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or email@example.com . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan .