Providence prevails against Pequot in state semis
MINNEAPOLIS — Pequot Lakes’ Kayla Miller scored the game’s first basket.
It was all Providence Academy after that.
The Lions dominated Friday’s Class 2A state semifinal matchup to the tune of 61-32 at Target Center.
After Miller’s basket, 12 minutes rattled off before the Patriots would make another field goal. In that time, the Lions built a 24-4 advantage. Pequot shot 2-20 (10 percent) in the first half, while Providence shot 48 percent and attempted 11 more shots thanks to nine offensive rebounds and eight Pequot turnovers. All that resulted in a 34-6 halftime lead.
“They are legit,” said Pequot head coach Jon Dale. “Every one of their players is a stud. The problem, I didn’t give Minnehaha Academy enough credit (Minnehaha lost to Providence 60-33 in the quarterfinal round Wednesday). It was tough going. Mattie (Lueck) struggled. She had a good girl guarding her and then had a lot of good help looking to stop her. It was just a tough game.”
The Lions, Class 2A’s top-ranked team all season, were led by AnnMarie Healy’s 15 points. She scored 13 of those in the first half and helped keep Pequot’s leading scorer, Lueck, to one point. The senior post finished with a team-high 10 points — eight points below her season average.
Kayla Miller scored four of Pequot’s six first-half points and finished with nine. Brittny Bzdok came off the bench to score five points in the final two minutes.
Providence opened the second half with a 7-2 run and continued to dominate Pequot defensively. It held the Patriots to 26.2 percent shooting for the game. The Lions outrebounded Pequot 40-22 and forced 13 Pequot turnovers, which they converted into 21 points.
The Lions’ Nathalie Ratliff scored 13 followed by Taylor Finley’s 11 and Leah Szabla’s nine.
“In the second half we just tried doing what we wanted to do in the first half — only better,” said Dale. “We wanted to box out and attack the rim. We were able to cut it to 30. Granted they called off the dogs, but still. There wasn’t much we could do. They had five legitimate players out there and they were long, tall and athletic.”
Providence made it to the state semifinals last season. Like Pequot, the Lions fell to eventual state champion Braham. This year, they’ll face Sauk Centre in the championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday. Pequot will play for third place at noon Saturday against New Richland.
Providence Academy 34 27 — 61
Pequot Lakes 6 26 — 32
Leah Szabla 9, Taylor Finley 11, Nathalie Ratliff 13, AnnMarie Healy 15, Katie Nordick 6, Jordan Meyer 3, McKenna Happke 4. FG 27-53 (50.9 percent), FT 4-10 (40 percent), 3-point baskets: 3-7 (42.9 percent).
Brittny Bzdok 5, Mattie Lueck 10, Rachel Mott 2, Abby Palmer 2, Kayla Miller 9, Jessica Kreitz 1, Katie White 3. FG 11-42 (26.2 percent), FT 8-14 (57.1 percent), 3-point baskets: 2-7 (28.6 percent).
Rebounds: PL 22 (Lueck 6), PA 40. Fouls: PL 8, PA 14. Assists: PL 1, PA 12, Turnovers: PL 13, PA 10. Blocks: PL 3, PA 2. Steals: PL 4, PA 5.
jeremy millsop may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.