Male Area Athlete of the Week: Laposky a floor general for Pequot
Pequot Lakes senior earns area athlete of the week
PEQUOT LAKES — Pequot Lakes head coach Rich Spiczka called him a “hoops junkie.”
His senior guard, Eli Laposky, showed why with a season-high 29 points in an 81-51 win over Rock Ridge last week.
“They were crashing on our big guys down low, so it left me with some nice easy kick outs and I was able to hit the shots,” Laposky said. “It was a big message to our section that we are not messing around this year.”
It was the first of two games the Patriots would play in the Wheaties Holiday Invite at Pequot Lakes High School.
“I think we were moving the ball well and getting the right kinds of shots,” Spiczka said of the Rock Ridge game. “The biggest piece was we executed early and the basket started getting bigger for the rest of our guys.”
Laposky followed it with 10 points in an overtime loss to Mora which was the Patriots’ first loss of the season.
Coming off a state tournament appearance last season, Laposky started the season with 12 points against Pillager, nine against Pine River-Backus and 13 points against Grand Rapids -- all blowout wins.
“The biggest thing this year is he plays with the ball in his hands a lot more,” Spiczka said. “We just don’t have as many options. So he is the guy with the ball in his hands and the biggest thing is being the floor general, leader and getting everyone where they need to be.”
Spiczka added that even when Laposky is not scoring he most likely set up a score for a teammate.
“He has his hands in it all,” Spiczka said. “It doesn’t matter who is scoring it, he was probably making a play at some level. I just think his decision-making and taking what’s available and those little subtle nuance things that people don’t notice he is really good at.”
Prior to his 29 points against Rock Ridge, he scored a team-high 19 points against Nevis in another win for Pequot Dec. 22.
“Coach Spiczka sometimes comes up to me after halftime and says ‘next call is yours, whatever play you want’” Laposky said. “I feel that trust from him and that he trusts me to make the right play. This year, he and I have a much better connection.”
Spiczka added: “I think in basketball in 2022-23 you have to let kids be who they are. We have expectations that things have to be done a certain way, but have to let kids play how it fits them. We demand our kids defend and share the ball, but we are straightforward that if it’s your shot, you take it.”
As a junior, Laposky was named to the Brainerd Dispatch All-Area First Team. He finished with 482 points (14.6 per game), 144 rebounds (4.4 per game), 158 assists (4.8 per game), 65 steals and eight blocked shots. He shot 37% (157-427) from the field, 33% (92-282) from 3-point and 75% (76-101) from the free throw line.
“We are a lot faster than last year with way more scorers,” Laposky said. “I’ve gotten better at my pull-up jumper and attacking the basket.”
He played significant minutes as a sophomore and finished with 198 points (9.4 per game), 82 rebounds (3.9 per game), 74 assists (3.5 per game), 39 steals and seven blocked shots. He shot 44% (73-167) from the field, 38% (48-128) from 3-point and 57% (4-7) from the free throw line.
“He is a hoops junkie,” Spiczka said. “When he’s not thinking about basketball, he’s thinking about basketball. He just cares about the game and enjoys the game. He’s probably played more basketball than any kid I’ve coached. He’s a fun kid to coach.”
In November, Laposky committed to play basketball at Bemidji State University next season.
“I’m excited to get up there and compete at the next level, but there is still some work left to be done at Pequot,” he said.
Other notable performances:
Hockey: Logan Verville, Northern Lakes, scored four goals with an assist against Becker/Big Lake.
Basketball: Eli Christy, Aitkin, scored 24 points against Pierz.
Joey Ringhand, Crosby-Ironton, scored 23 points against Fond du Lac.
Will Meyer, Crosby-Ironton, scored 22 points against Fond du Lac.
James Stokman, Crosby-Ironton, scored 21 points against Fond du Lac.
Brayden Smith, Aitkin, scored 26 points against Mille Lacs.
Isaiah Schultz, Staples-Motley, scored 30 points against Lake of the Woods.
School: Pequot Lakes
Highlights: He scored 29 points against Rock Ridge