Girls Basketball: Patriot girls fall to C-I in section final

The Patriots finish 25-4 on the season

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The Patriots file off the court after shaking hands with their Crosby-Ironton opponents on Friday, March 10, 2023.
Dan Determan / Echo Journal

BRAINERD — The Pequot Lakes girls basketball team came just eight points short of competing in another state tournament, falling to the No. 3 Crosby-Ironton Rangers 66-58 in the Section 7-2A finals on Friday, March 10.

“The girls competed hard,” head coach Brian Lempola said. “There was no lack of effort – that’s for sure – but we missed shots and I think C-I hit a lot of big shots. I think that was the difference in the game.”

Despite struggling to have some shots fall and dealing with some unforced turnovers, the Patriots were down by just six points at the half. They came out of halftime strong, but a string of made 3-pointers by the Rangers kept the Patriots playing from behind for the rest of the game.

“It’s a game where you have got to protect the basketball and you have got to make decisive decisions,” Lempola said. “Some of the decisions that we made weren’t good. If you don’t protect the basketball or shoot the ball very well – even if you defend pretty well – it’s not going to go in your favor. Give C-I props though. They played a heck of a game and they deserved to win.”

There was no lack of effort – that’s for sure – but we missed shots and I think C-I hit a lot of big shots.
Brian Lempola, head coach

Pequot Lakes was led by senior Maci Martini, who finished her basketball career with 23 points. Lauren Schultz finished with 12 points and made all 10 of her free-throw attempts. Isabel Larson added 11 points for the Patriots in the loss.


The Patriots finished the season with an overall record of 25-4, and their coach said he was pleased with the team’s resiliency and determination throughout the year.

“The girls faced a lot of adversity this season, right from the get-go,” Lempola said. “With some kids being hurt, we really had to dig in … and we played so many games late, and that really took a toll on our team.”

The team now parts ways with seniors Maci Martini and Kaitlyn Geschwill.

“We think so highly of them,” Lempola said. “Maci has carried us at times – when things would go stagnant, you could always count on her to drop in a shot. That is one thing, along with her defense and especially her rebounding, that we are going to miss very, very dearly next year.

Kaitlyn is just a tremendous competitor and teammate. She was a lot of the glue that kept us together, especially early in the season.”

Crosby-Ironton 32 34 — 66

Pequot Lakes 26 32 — 58


Josie Schaefer 4, Hannah Compton 21, Brynn Hollenhorst 6, Margaret Silgen 3, Samatha Hachey 1, Tori Oehrlein 31. FG 22-40 (55%), FT 9-12 (75%). 3-point 13-26 (50%).


Ella Kratochvil 9, Isabel Larson 11, Kelsi Martini 3, Maci Martini 23, Lauren Schultz 12. FG 19-54 (35.1%), FT 15-19 (78.9%). 3-point 5-20 (25%).

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Pequot Lakes guard Kelsi Martini shoots a 3-pointer in the second half of the Patriots' section final loss to Crosby-Ironton on Friday, March 10, 2023.
Dan Determan / Echo Journal

Patriots 64, Hilltoppers 49

DULUTH — The top-seeded Patriots came away with a 64-49 64-49 victory over No. 4-seeded Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers in the Section 7-2A Semifinals at the University of Minnesota, Duluth on Wednesday, March 8.

Larson scored a game-high 23 points and Maci Martini added 19 points.


The Patriots hit 13-of-17 free throws down the stretch to improved to 25-3 and return to the section final.

Duluth Marshall 20 24 -- 44

Pequot Lakes 29 33 -- 64


Ava Meierotto 3, Ada Skafte 10, Anna Saari 4, Mariah Lucero 5, Regan Juenemann 20. FG 18-52 (35%), FT 2-2 (100%). 3-point 12-32 (38%).


Ella Kratochvil 6, Isabel Larson 23, Kelsi Martini 9, Maci Martini 19, Lauren Schultz 7. FG 22-50 (44%), FT 17-23 (74%). 3-point 4-17 (23%).

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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