ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Area Boys Basketball: Hot shooting ignites Pequot Lakes to big section win

Pequot Lakes hosts Pierz Thursday, March 4

030521.S.BD.Basketball1.jpg
Pequot Lakes' Alex Morgan drives to the net past Pierz's Michael Liedenfrost Thursday, March 4, at Pequot Lakes High School. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

PEQUOT LAKES — With section seeding on the line, the Class 2A’s 14th-ranked Pequot Lakes Patriots took one step closer to clinching the top seed in the Section 7-2A playoffs with a 68-54 victory over the Pierz Pioneers Thursday, March 4.

Trailing 37-28 at the half, Pierz cut into the margin with back-to-back 3-pointers from Ryan Stuckmayer and a third 3 from Noah Cekalla to cut Pequot’s lead to 40-37.

From there the Patriots mounted a 19-2 run highlighted by five Pequot 3s.

Patriots’ senior Simon Wufflestad came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers which sparked the run that put them up 20.

“Simon has an unbelievable knack to come in cold and shoot the basketball,” Pequot Lakes head coach Rich Spiczka said. “He can flat out shoot it and he has confidence. You can tell when the first one goes in that he feels really good about it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Eli Laposky, Bode Magnuson and Carter Sjoblad all drilled 3s in the onslaught as well.

Turnovers crippled the Pioneers’ offense as they finished with 14 total. The Patriots scored eight points off turnovers during the second-half run.

“That’s what Pequot’s known for,” Pierz head coach Joe Kahl said. “They force you into turnovers and when you get a little lackadaisical it turns into points. Credit to Pequot, they played a great game tonight.”

Pequot vs Pierz Boys Basketball Gallery

As a team, Pequot hit 12 3-pointers total at a 43% clip with six in each half. Laposky and Wufflestad each tallied four treys and Magnuson poured in two long bombs.

“The best thing about tonight is we won a different way than when we’ve won in the past,” Spiczka said. “We won on jump shooting tonight, which isn’t a norm for us. Usually, we are getting after people athletically and getting up and down the floor. We got some kids who can shoot it which is good and they were collapsing on everything so we had to make some.”

Stuckmayer led the Pioneers with 15 points, including four second-half triples of his own.

Pierz led by as many six points in the first half before Pequot Lakes closed out the half with a 20-5 run capped off by a Wufflestad 3.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Outside of the first couple minutes we were flat,” Spiczka said. “We needed some energy which we showed and you just have to get sharper. Pierz is always going to be tough and we had to answer that.”

The Patriots finished with five players in double figures. Alex Morgan and Laposky each finished with 14 with Magnuson and Wufflestad each tallying 12.

Pequot big man Sam Rysavy scored 10 points, but was also a big presence on the defensive end.

“He gives us something we haven’t really had a lot of in the five years I’ve been here,” Spiczka said. “I feel like we can defend every area of the floor. Used to be we’d pressure people and they’d get by, but now Sammy protects that and gives us a lot of extra opportunities. His length plays a huge role.”

Pierz dominated the offensive glass which was one weakness for the Patriots Thursday. The Pioneers grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second-chance points.

“We played a lot of zone tonight with a lot of guys stretched out on the perimeter,” Spiczka said. “And we talked about how it takes a full unit to go to the glass. Everyone has to rebound.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Pierz had four players in double figures, including Stuckmayer. Noah Cekalla finished with 12 points. Michael Leidenfrost notched 10 as did Jonah Prokott. The Pioneers shot just 31% from the field.

“We didn’t get some shots to fall for us,” Kahl said. “It goes from a 10-point game to they lite it up from behind the arc it turns into a 20-point game in a real hurry.”

Pequot has now racked section wins against Moose Lake-Willow River, Esko and Pierz to be the clear favorite to take the No. 1 seed in the section playoffs.

“We are going to have some more basketball games to secure that No. 1 seed,” Spiczka said. “Hopefully, we can do that. We’ve had some battles and it’s a pretty even section I think.”

The No. 1 seed has extra importance in 2021 because in the Section 7-2A playoffs the top seed hosts throughout.

“You are always paying attention to seeding this time of year,” Spiczka said. “You’re paying a little more attention this year if it means you don’t have to travel. Our guys are comfortable here and we like it here. It’s nice to not have to get on the bus and have the kids feel good at home.”

Pierz 28 26 — 54
Pequot Lakes 37 31 — 68

PIERZ
Ryan Stuckmayer 15, Noah Cekalla 12, Michael Leidenfrost 10, Andrew Winscher 3, Andrew Brill 2, Zachary Jones 2, Benjamin Virnig 2, Jonah Prokott 10. FG 17-55 (31%), FT 11-15 (73%). 3-point 9-27 (33%).

PEQUOT LAKES
Bode Magnuson 12, Alex Morgan 14, Carter Sjoblad 3, Ryan Monahan 10, Ryan Harmala 3, Simon Wufflestad 12, Eli Laposky 14, Sam Rysavy 3. FG 26-52 (50%), FT 4-10 (40%). 3-point 12-28 (43%).

Pequot Lakes 68, Pierz 54

Key: Pequot Lakes shot 43% from the outside to walk away with an easy win over Pierz.

Overall: PL 11-2, Prz 10-5.

Next: Pequot Lakes hosts Grand Rapids 7:15 p.m. Friday, March 5; Pierz at Foley 7:15 p.m. Friday, March 5.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

What To Read Next
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Rainy River Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Rainy River Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Hibbing Friday, Feb. 3.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Gogebic Community College Friday, Feb. 3.