Area Girls Basketball: Balanced attack lifts Cardinals over Pequot
PEQUOT LAKES — Who do you guard?
That was the question Pequot Lakes Patriots head coach Jon Dale struggled with before, during and after Tuesday’s Mid-State Conference clash against the Staples-Motley Cardinals.
Nine different players scored for Class 2A’s sixth-ranked Cardinals, leading to a 78-52 victory.
Of those nine players, five scored nine or more points. Four different Cardinals hit 3-pointers, helping them connect on 42 percent (10-of-24) from beyond the arc.
“It was the exact same thing we ran into against Parkers Prairie,” said Dale. “They dribble penetrate and then they kick. Then the next person comes. And then the next person comes. It’s dribble, slash, dribble, slash and then kick and until we figure out how to play defense it’s going to be a long year.
“That’s our problem. We don’t move our feet. We don’t help or we help too much.”
When the Cardinals didn’t have the ball, they were taking it away from Pequot. S-M forced the Patriots into 24 turnovers, 12 in each half. S-M used the first-half turnovers to go on a 20-6 run to close out the half with a 36-26 lead. This after trailing 12-1 to start the game.
“We have depth and we haven’t been playing defense like we want,” said S-M head coach Arden Beachy. “We’ve been playing good enough, but when we play hard enough it starts wearing teams down. Then we get them a little tired and it gets us some easy baskets.
“I thought we started kind of slow. I tried starting in a zone and the only thing I was worried about was where is the intensity?”
Jaelin Beachy and KyAnn Nyhus each hit three 3-pointers in the first half to score 11 points for the Cardinals. Mikayla Wing scored seven of her eight points in the first frame.
The second half was all balance for S-M. Kelly Pearson and Jasmine McGillvray each scored eight points. Nyhus added six more points to lead the Cardinals with 15 points.
“We’ve done a real good job of finding the open person,” said Arden Beachy. “I tell the girls that if you’re unselfish, some game you’ll be hot and you’ll get the ball a lot.
“We’ve been able to find the hot hand most of the time. We have so many people that can shoot well that we feel we always have scorers.”
Pequot’s Mattie Lueck and Megan Hogen each finished with 17 points. The Patriots shot just 9-of-31 in the second half and were never able to cut into the Cardinals’ lead.
“We started out with some intensity and fast breaks and we were hitting our outlet and then we went away from it,” said Dale. “Then we tried to dribble through three of them.
“We just kind of get flustered. We’re not nearly as seasoned as we were last year. We still have a long ways to go, but we see signs of them coming around and then we see a lot of unseasoned mistakes. We need to have composure and we just don’t, yet.”
Staples-Motley 38 40 — 78
Pequot Lakes 26 26 — 52
Jaelin Beachy 13, Mackenzie Holst 9, Mikayla Wing 8, Kelly Pearson 10, KyAnn Nyhus 15, Grace Wolhowe 2, Jasmine McGillvray 10, Marilyn Eagletail 4, Bobbi Jo Mathe 5. FG 31-67 (46 percent), FT 6-11 (55 percent), 3-point basket: 10-24 (46 percent).
Mattie Lueck 17, Vanessa Lane 3, Jessica Kreitz 5, Katie White 2, Megan Hogen 17, Kayla Miller 7, Abby Palmer 1. FG 20-58 (34 percent), FT 3-8 (38 percent), 3-point basket: 3-7 (43 percent).
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.