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Girls Basketball: Patriots top Pierz, head to state

The Pequot Lakes girls basketball team is off to state for the first time since 2016

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The Pequot Lakes girls basketball team celebrates after beating Pierz Friday, March 11, 2022, during the Section 7-2A Championship game at Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD โ€” For the first time in six years, the Pequot Lakes girls basketball team is heading back to state.

Shooting 9-for-18 from 3-point range, the top-seeded Patriots beat the No. 3 seed Pierz Pioneers 70-54 in the Section 7-2A Final on Friday, March 11, at Brainerd High School.

โ€œI thought that we started a little slow,โ€ head coach Brian Lempola said โ€œI think some nerves entered at the beginning of the game. Once we got down eight points, Lauren (Schultz) had a big shot to get us on the board and the scoring really came in bunches then.โ€

Four different Patriots were in double figures with Isabel Larson scoring 20 points.

โ€œThey are a very highly skilled team, but they are also very motivated,โ€ Lempola said. โ€œThey are hungry, and they are always looking for some new drills and new things to improve their game, individually and collectively.โ€

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Kelsi Martini scored 18 points for the Patriots, including four 3-pointers. Her sister Maci tallied 11 points of her own.

The Pioneers went on another 8-0 run in the second half to cut Pequotโ€™s lead to 54-44, but the Patriots pulled away late in the game.

It was just a lot of months of hard work to achieve our goals, and to have finally achieved one of them โ€ฆ There was just tons of excitement. It was a special moment.
Brian Lempola, Pequot Lakes head coach

Ella Kratochvil finished with 14 points to be the fourth Pequot player in double figures.

The Patriots shot 47% from the field and held Pierz to just 32% shooting. The last time Pequot Lakes went to state was 2016.

"It was just a lot of months of hard work to achieve our goals, and to have finally achieved one of them โ€ฆ There was just tons of excitement,โ€ Lempola said. โ€œIt was a special moment.โ€

The 29-1 Patriots will face Fergus Falls in the opening round of the state tournament on Wednesday, March 16.

โ€œI'm just so proud of them, with all their hard work, as well as their families and all the time they have put in โ€“ through youth sports around the state and the camps and tournaments,โ€ Lempola said. โ€œItโ€™s just really wonderful that that hard work paid off.โ€

Pierz 30 24 โ€” 54

Pequot Lakes 38 32 โ€” 70

PIERZ

Katie Leidenfrost 12, Britney Schommer 7, Kiara Olesch 15, Ashley Kimman 2, Lily Riley 3, Alyssa Sadlovsky 15. FG 18-57 (32%), FT 10-19 (53%). 3-point 8-24 (33%).

PEQUOT LAKES

Isabel Larson 20, Kelsi Martini 18, Maci Martini 11, Morgan Eckes 2, Lauren Schultz 5, Ella Kratochvil 14. FG 24-51 (47%), FT (68%). 3-point 9-18 (50%).

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Isabel Larson drives to the lane as the Pequot Lakes girls basketball team takes on Pierz on Friday, March 11, 2022, during the Section 7-2A Championship game at Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

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Pequot Lakes 57, Proctor 45

HERMANTOWN โ€” Larson scored 17 points to lead the Pequot Lakes Patriots over the Proctor Rails 57-45 in the Section 7-2A Semifinals Wednesday, March 9.

Kelsi Martini scored 11 points for the Patriots, while Schultz and Kratochvil each had nine.

Proctor 22 23 โ€” 45

Pequot Lakes 27 30 โ€” 57

PROCTOR

Paige Evans 6, Chloe Carlson 13, Lily Smith 6, Sophia Morin-Swanson 4, Hope Carlson 4, Payton Rodberg 6, Kelsey Tangen 6.

PEQUOT LAKES

Carly Chaney 2, Isabel Larson 17, Kelsi Martini 11, Maci Martini 6, Morgan Eckes 2, Lauren Schultz 9, Reese Laposky 1, Ella Kratochvil 9.

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The Pequot Lakes girls basketball team celebrates after beating Pierz Friday, March 11, 2022, during the Section 7-2A Championship game at Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

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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