Female Area Athlete of Week: Piecek’s big week helps Aitkin snap losing streak
Before the game against Ogilvie, Aitkin head coach Donavon Daiker talked to his team about it being a game they could win.
Aitkin had only one win and was on a 17-game losing streak.
Freshman Teagan Piecek scored her season-high 27 points to give the Gobblers a 78-65 victory over Ogilvie in the final game of the regular season.
“We knew Ogilvie was No. 2 in their section at that point, but we also knew we were playing good basketball,” Daiker said. “We knew we had a chance to win and we played a near-complete game.”
Piecek’s teammate Ally Ehnstrom scored 22 points with five 3-pointers to snap the losing streak.
“It’s fun to finally win a game,” Piecek said. “We had a lot of fun doing it together. Ally is probably my best connection out there. We both just moved around a lot and found the open spots.
“We have been trying to get more wins and going to practice and working hard and coming to game day trying to at least be in every game.”
The Ogilvie game marked the second game in a row Piecek scored 20 or more points. In the game prior, Piecek scored 21 points against Detroit Lakes.
“She’s been learning the game at the varsity level this year,” Daiker said. “She’s been able to transfer her game from the junior varsity level to the varsity court scoring wise. She’s a very dynamic player. She can shoot the 3-pointer with ease. She’s also very good at taking the ball to the rim, taking the contact at the rim and making her free throws.”
Piecek said she looked for her open shots and tried to drive the ball to create offense for her team in the two games.
“A lot of the times the other team played a zone, so if you could find the open spots you could make the pass easier and get off an open shot before they got to you,” Piecek said.
Her offense impressed Daiker, but she also racked up five steals on the defensive end against Ogilvie.
“She’s one of those girls that when she has her “A” game going we are a better team,” Daiker said. “She can change the flow of the game when she sets her mind to it.”
Daiker knew he was not going to gauge the season on wins and loses. Last year, Aitkin graduated six seniors. It is Daiker’s first season roaming the sidelines for the Gobblers and he has a younger group of girls to work with.
“We knew we were resetting the program,” Daiker said. “We had one girl, Ally, who had any varsity experience coming into this season. We knew it would be a season of growth and not winning and losing.”
Daiker likes to play a fast-paced game and Piecek was able to pick up on the style easily.
“The sky is the limit for that kid,” Daiker said. “As much as she wants to work and push herself she can achieve some great things in these next three years.”
For the season, Piecek averaged 12 points, five rebounds and 2.5 steals a game.
“I can shoot pretty well from around the 3-point line,” Piecek said. “I can get my shot off before the defense gets out to me.”
The season has been a challenge for Piecek due to her lack of experience. She is excited for the next three years.
“I’m looking toward improving my leadership,” Piecek said. “I want to help the young girls who are not playing varsity yet and getting them ready for when they do.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Ally Ehnstrom, Aitkin, scored 22 points against Ogilvie.
Tori Decent, Crosby-Ironton, scored her 1,000th career point against Detroit Lakes.
Lola Rysavy, Pequot Lakes, scored 22 points against Park Rapids.
Juliana Ewald, Pillager, scored 21 points Moose Lake-Willow River.
Melissa Hammer, Verndale, tallied 16 points and 16 rebounds against Browerville and 23 points and 13 rebounds against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Maci Martini, Pequot Lakes, scored 23 points against Pillager.
Kennedy Gravelle, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 27 points against Park Rapids.
Highlights: Scored 27 points against Ogilvie and 21 points against Detroit Lakes.