Boys Basketball: Pequot Lakes speeds past Esko into section finals

Pequot Lakes advances to the section finals Tuesday, March 23

Pequot Lakes Patriots Logo.jpg

PEQUOT LAKES — Section 7-2A runs through Pequot Lakes.

The top-seeded Patriots shot 65% from the field and 64% from 3-point range to come away with an easy 74-54 win over No. 4 seeded Esko in the section semifinals Tuesday, March 23.

The win means Pequot hosts the Section 7-2A finals Thursday, March 25.

Pequot Lakes center Sam Rysavy made his presence felt early and often Tuesday night against Esko.

The senior scored the Patriots first six points and finished with 14 first-half points on multiple tip-ins.


“Coming into it we knew it was going to be a tough game,” Rysavy said. “We just capitalized on it. On offense, I’m just doing the best I can do to get the ball high and put it in.”

Rysavy’s 6-foot-6 frame made a difference on defense as Pequot switched from man to zone a lot to confuse Esko's methodical offense.

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“In practice, they try to get me to use my reach the best that I can,” Rysavy said. “That’s what I try to do.”

Patriots’ head coach Rich Spiczka was pleased with his team’s start that held Esko to 6-of-21 first-half shooting.

“The best thing about our start was just the intensity,” Spiczka said. “Defensively, we were up in people’s shorts all game and ready to go from the get-go.”

Rysavy finished with a game-high 22 points while shooting a perfect 9-for-9 from the field.

“Sammy is getting better every day,” Spiczka said. “Like literally, every day. It’s one of those things where as we’ve seen the last few games he’s a force on the glass and defense, but now he’s a force scoring the ball right now.”

Pequot Lakes also nailed five first-half 3-pointers leading to a 35-19 advantage.


The game was tied 8-8 until the Patriots finished the half on a 25-9 run.

In the second half, Pequot led by as many as 28 running the Eskomos off the floor.

The Eskomos shot 38% total and 30% from the 3-point line.

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Pequot’s Simon Wafflestad nailed five 3s going 5-for-8 to finish with 15 points. Eli Laposky added three 3s of his own and finished with 11.

“It just helps,” Spiczka said. “Simon just stretches the floor and we feel pretty good about getting some penetration and scoring inside. Now with Simon shooting and Eli shooting we can stretch people out and it adds another dimension that teams have to get ready for.”

Esko was led by Riley Fischer’s16 points and Cuinn Berger with 13 as the only two Eskomos in double figures.

Alex Morgan chipped in 12 for Pequot as the Patriots saw eight different players find the score column.

“We talked about it in the huddle after the game,” Spiczka said. “Some of our key guys like Bode (Magnuson) only scored six and we still won by 20 in the semifinals of sections. I feel good about a bunch of pieces clicking together on the right cylinders right now.”


No. 3 seeded Moose Lake-Willow River beat No. 2 seeded Duluth Marshall 87-73 in the other semifinal Tuesday to set up a Pequot-Moose Lake final.

Pequot edged Moose Lake 87-84 in overtime Feb. 16 in Pequot. It’s on that same floor Thursday, where the winner will go to state.

Spiczka said the one good thing about a COVID-19 season is getting to play the section finals on the home floor.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “We don’t have to get on a bus, so we are pretty excited about it. But we are going to have our hands full.”

Esko 19 35 — 54
Pequot Lakes 35 39 — 74

Eli Blue 9, Cale Haugen 3, Cade Berger 3, Cuinn Berger 13, Riley Fischer 16, Braedyn Male 3, Nick Swanson 1, Chad Hurt 6. FG 20-53 (38%), FT 5-9 (56%). 3-point 6-20 (30%).


Bode Magnuson 6, Nic Kotaska 4, Alex Morgan 12, Ryan Monahan 2, Evin Ruud 2, Simon Wufflestad 15, Eli Laposky 11, Sam Rysavy 22. FG 28-43 (65%), FT 9-11 (81%). 3-point 9-14 (64%).

Pequot Lakes 74, Esko 54

Key: 65% shooting sends Pequot Lakes to the section finals

Overall: PL 18-2, Esko 13-8.

Next: Pequot Lakes hosts Moose Lake-Willow River in Section 7-2A final 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25.

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