It’s all about state.
A state tournament appearance that is for the Pequot Lakes Patriots and Emily Lueck.
The senior for the seventh-ranked Patriots has her sights set on playing in Minneapolis in late March. It’s all she cares about, despite racking up impressive numbers along the way.
In the Patriots’ upset victory over then fourth-ranked Esko Feb. 7, Lueck became Pequot’s all-time leading scorer as she finished with 36 points to surpass Flecia Foster’s old mark of 1,940.
“State is driving us a lot,” said Lueck. “It’s our No. 1 thing. These point totals are little accomplishments along the way to hopefully getting to state.”
Said Pequot head coach Jon Dale: “They’ve been wanting to go to state and that is one of their goals, definitely. They also wanted to beat last year’s record and wanted to repeat as conference champions.
“They also definitely want to get further in the section tournament this year and hopefully get to state.”
Lueck’s milestone season isn’t finished.
The five-year varsity player added 14 points in Pequot’s 69-57 Mid-State Conference win over Staples-Motley Feb. 10.
One night later, Lueck posted 21 points during Pequot’s 70-40 win over Pillager. That helped her become only the second player in the Dispatch coverage area to surpass 2,000 career points. Wadena-Deer Creek 1993 graduate Rhonda Birch (2,524) is the only other.
“Her confidence level is higher this year,” said Dale. “I can’t really explain it. She just takes what the other team is giving her. She can score nine points or 36 points. She doesn’t care. She just wants to win.
“I’m sure she is very happy about breaking the school record and getting 2,000 points, but she would give it all away to get to state. That’s what makes her an even better player this year than last year.”
Last year’s Dispatch co-Player of the Year finished with 545 points, 131 rebounds, 157 assists, 106 steals and 12 blocked shots last year to help the Patriots to a 23-6 record and a spot in the South Subsection 8-2A final.
This year is much of the same.
“She’s getting used to the double teams and the box and ones and things like that,” said Dale. “I was looking through our stats and she is fifth in the state in scoring at 20.4 per game. She is also first in the state in assists with 138. She is also seventh in the state in steals.
“She’s pretty well rounded.”
Lueck hopes that versatility will land her a spot at either St. Thomas, St. Benedict or Gustavus. She stressed that she wants to concentrate on her education while still playing the game she loves.
But first she’s concentrating on helping her team reach its goals.
“We’ve had great team chemistry since we were in fourth grade, led by an awesome coach in my dad (John Lueck),” she said. “We have always trusted each other. No matter how close a game gets we all feel like we can come out on top.
“This season has gone by very fast, but it’s been super fun. After every game we always have some laughs. There are a lot of great memories being made.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Kylie Beltz, Pequot Lakes, scored 21 points against Staples-Motley.
Jasmine McGillvray, Staples-Motley, scored 20 points against Pequot Lakes.
Kelsey Grider, Lake Region, finished with 27 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks against Cambridge Christian.
Whitney Weisz, Little Falls, finished with 33 points and 17 rebounds against Sartell.
Tatum Sheley, Pine River-Backus, scored 21 points against Bagley.
Gymnastics: Rachelle LeBlanc, Little Falls, won the bars, beam, floor exercise and vault to claim the all-around title with a 36.325 score against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. She also earned the top beam spot in the Central Lakes Conference in the regular season.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.