Area Girls Basketball: Pequot rebounds to edge Cardinals

Pequot Lakes 56, Staples-Motley 55 The key: Offensive rebounds - Pequot scored 10 second-chance points Conf: PL 7-3, SM 6-4 Overall: PL 17-8, SM 18-6 Next: Staples-Motley at New York Mills 7:30 p.m. Thursday; Pequot Lakes in North Subsection 8-2A...

Pequot Lakes 56,

Staples-Motley 55

The key: Offensive rebounds - Pequot scored 10 second-chance points

Conf: PL 7-3, SM 6-4

Overall: PL 17-8, SM 18-6


Next: Staples-Motley at New York Mills 7:30 p.m. Thursday; Pequot Lakes in North Subsection 8-2A playoffs TBA

Craig Wolhowe put into words what everyone at Staples-Motley High School might have been thinking Tuesday night.

The Staples-Motley Cardinals' head coach, while folding up the team video camera following his team's 56-55 Mid-State Conference loss to Pequot Lakes said:

"This would be one great best-of-seven series."

Indeed it would be as the two teams split the season series. Pequot's victory landed the Patriots second in the final conference standings. S-M finished third as both teams were tied 6-3 heading into an otherwise meaningless contest as section play will begin soon for both teams.

The difference Tuesday was offensive rebounds and none were bigger than sophomore Sam Littman's putback that handed the Patriots the victory.

"That is one of their weaknesses, if they have one, it's that they're not very big inside," said Pequot Lakes head coach Jon Dale. "We thought that if we could control the boards and limit the second-chance points we would be in it.

"I think we're pretty evenly matched. I knew it was going to be and Craig knew it was going to be a battle and hopefully we helped each other heading into playoffs."


The Patriots scored 10 second-chance points and dominated the paint. But for all its height deficiency, S-M held a 55-54 lead after two Amber Robben free throws with 56.4 seconds remaining.

With 9.1 seconds left, Robben had the ball in her hands again and had an open lane for a second before Pequot's defense crashed on her and caused a turnover to earn the win.

"It's still about building and getting better, but I think we realized, our end-of-the-game situations we haven't had a lot of these and we're still trying to figure out what we're trying to do," said Wolhowe. "We haven't worked a lot on that so I take part of the blame. We realized there are some things we need to work on when we are ahead or down by two with 10 seconds to go. We need to figure out what we need to do. Jon has been around for a long time and he works on that. We're just getting into the swing of those type of things and you could see we were a little uncertain on who was going to make the play."

Robben finished with a season-high 23 points, 15 coming in the second half. Robben's big game helped elevate Grace Wolhowe's tough second half. The senior scored just three second-half points. She finished with 10, but was the main focus of Pequot's defense all night.

"She scored 30 something on us the last time so obviously our game plan was to shut down Grace," said Dale. "It was no secret. We wanted to slow down Wolhowe. We knew we couldn't stop her. Then we were concentrating on (Kaitlin) Spar and if the others beat us, well, then they're pretty well-rounded. It didn't work out so well last time. This time it worked out a little bit better."

Trailing 46-40, S-M rattled off an 11-0 run, Robben scored nine of those points to hand the Cardinals a 51-46 edge. Sam Littman knocked down two jumpers, Haley Wiebolt, who led Pequot with 15 points, scored and Corina Ruud hit a put back to build Pequot's 54-53 edge with 1:01 remaining.

Littman finished with 10 points and Brittny Bzdok and Kelsey Hart each added six for the Patriots.

"They are so tenacious on the boards and that was one of our focal points," said Wolhowe. "I thought we did a little bit better job in the second half, but I think in the first half they had 36 points in the paint and we had 14. That was the difference in the game."


The Cardinals led for most of the first half with Megan Dumpprope scoring eight of her 10 points in the opening frame. At 2:53 remaining in the half, Pequot tied the score on a Wiebolt lay in and took the lead on a Ruud putback. Pequot secured a 35-31 halftime edge, its largest lead of the opening half.

S-M came out of the break and scored six straight points off of Pequot turnovers to grab a short-lived 38-37 lead.

"We got through those streaks where you just say, 'oh boy,'" said Dale. "We're getting better, but we have a young team out there. I thought they hung on. It got kind of wild there at the end and could have gone either way, but we pulled it off."

Pequot moves to 17-8, while S-M drops to 18-6. S-M will open up Section 6-2A play Saturday.

"This would have been a good section game," said Wolhowe. "The officials let you play. The game was determined by who could play the hardest. Tonight Pequot played a little bit harder than we did."

Pequot Lakes 35 21 - 56

Staples-Motley 31 24 - 55



Caitie Ryan 5, Haley Wiebolt 15, Brittny Bzdok 6, Kelsey Hart 6, Emilee Buell 4, Morgan Lohmiller 2, Corina Ruud 6, Laura Squires 2, Sam Littman 10. FG 27-63 (42 percent), FT 1-7 (14 percent). 3-point 1-10 (10 percent).


Kelsie Weite 2, Chelsea Nanik 5, Megan Dumpprope 10, Grace Wolhowe 10, Claire Wolhowe 4, Amber Robben 23. FG 20-55 (43 percent), FT 11-14 (79 percent). 3-point 3-9 (33 percent).

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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