Boys Basketball: Tight defense suffocates Pequot Lakes in State Quarterfinals

Pequot Lakes vs Annandale in the Class 2A State Quarterfinals

A Basketball player dribbles the ball.
Pequot Lakes' Eli Laposky, left, drives to the hoop during the first half of the Class 2A State Quarterfinals against Annandale Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at Target Center.
Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

MINNEAPOLIS — A balanced scoring attack helped No. 3 seed Annandale knock off Pequot Lakes 55-40 in the Class 2A State Quarterfinals Tuesday, March 22, at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Annandale was led by Brady Spaulding, who battled first-half foul trouble and still finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Patriots were led by Eli Laposky who drained three 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.

Annandale had three players in double figures with Robert Olson finishing with 10 and Bryce Fobbe with 11.

“I coach a senior group and they’ve been playing together forever and I’ve drilled them hard in practice,” Annandale head coach Skip Dolan said. “I don’t get after them at halftime anymore. We just talk about what we need to do.”


The Patriots only scored 10 points in the second half after only being down 32-30 at the break.

“We have a special group defensively,” Dolan said. “We shut a lot of good teams down defensively.”

Annandale was solid on the offensive glass with 13 offensive rebounds. They outrebounded the Patriots 33-25 for the game.

“Their physicality wore us down a little,” Pequot Lakes head coach Rich Spiczka said. “They were just bigger and stronger than us and to make up for that — even when we got a stop they would get the offensive rebound. I thought we played well in the first half. Second half the looks weren’t quite as clean and we got nothing inside.”

Annandale led 50-38 with six minutes left after a 6-0 run. Bryce Fobbe nailed a 3-pointer with under five minutes to play to give the Cardinals their largest lead of the game.

The Cardinals started the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 39-30. Pequot Lakes responded with two straight buckets, but Annandale’s Robert Olson scored a three-point play on a two handed slam dunk and free throw to give Annandale a 42-34 lead with 11 minutes left.

“We go 6-6, 6-6, 6-7 and one of those kids comes off the bench,” Dolan said. “So if we take a Brady off or a Robert off you still have a 6-6 kid that’s out there.”

The Cardinals shot 45% from the field while Pequot Lakes shot 39% after shooting 57% in the first half.


Pequot Lakes Boys Basketball in State
Pequot Lakes' Ryan Harmala drives the basket in the first half of the Class 2A State Quarterfinals against Annandale Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at the Target Center.
Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

Annandale jumped to a 14-7 lead with Brady Spaulding scoring six points.

Spaulding picked up his second foul with 9:43 left in the first half. Then the Cardinals built their largest lead of the first half 19-9 after a Hawkin Miller layup.

From there, the Patriots went on a 14-4 run to tie the game at 23.

Laposky hit back-to-back 3-pointers as a part of his 15-point first half followed by a 3-pointer from Bradyen Spiczka to make it 21-20 Cardinals.

Spaulding reentered the game and scored a layup to finish with 10 first-half points, but also picked up his third foul of the half.

Bradyen Spiczka hit another 3-pointer to tie the game for the Patriots. Pequot Lakes shot 57% from the field and went 6-of-13 from 3-point in the first half.

The Cardinals took a six-point lead at 32-26 before Laposky scored back-to-back baskets including a spinning floater in the lane to make it 32-30 which would be the halftime score.

“I think he got tougher looks because of adjustments,” Spiczka said. “They stepped up and hedged him hard. In the first half, they let him get over the top of the ball screen which makes a difference. We just have to adapt and adjust to it.”


The Cardinals held a 17-10 advantage on the boards and turned the ball over less than the Patriots 8-5 in the first half.

Pequot Lakes will play Perham in the Consolation Semifinals 8 p.m. Wednesday at Concordia University in St. Paul.

“We just have to get them some rest,” Spiczka said. “It’s a tight turnaround and the kids left all out on the floor so they’ll be tired and sluggish I’m sure.”

Annandale 32 23 — 55

Pequot Lakes 30 10 — 40


Hawkin Miller 2, Brady Spaulding 16, Robert Olson 10, Bryce Fobbe 11, Carson Gagnon 8. FG 22-50 (44%), FT 6-8 (75%). 3-point 5-16 (31%).


Ryan Harmala 4, Brayden Spiczka 6, Grant Loge 9, Eli Laposky 17, Sam Rysavy 2. FG 17-44 (39%), FT 0-2 (0%). 3-point 6-20 (30%).

Annandale 55, Pequot Lakes 40
Key: Annandale defense holds Patriots to just 10 second-half points.
Overall: PL 24-7, A 29-2.
Next: Pequot Lakes vs Perham in the Class 2A State Consolation Semifinals 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 23.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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