STAPLES — Teamwork.
That’s what Staples-Motley junior Jalen Busker said the key was to Friday’s 61-58 Mid-State Conference victory over the Pequot Lakes Patriots.
Help defense. Balanced scoring, capitalizing on 10 Pequot turnovers in the second half, and finishing in the overtime frame were key to overturning a 29-21 halftime deficit.
“We knew that (Jordan) Redmond and (Travis) Jacobson were doing most of their work so we had to help out and sag on them and try to keep them out of the paint,” said Busker. “We needed to rebound harder, too. We really came together and I haven’t seen that from this team yet this year, but it looks like it’s coming together some.”
Busker led all scorers with 21 points, but none were as important as a 3-pointer with less than two minutes remaining that gave the Cardinals a 52-51 lead.
Pequot’s Brett Peterson answered with one of two free throws to send the game into overtime.
“It felt good coming out of my hands,” said Busker of his second 3-pointer. “I knew it was going in as soon as I shot it.”
In the overtime frame, S-M was able to grab a 58-54 advantage before Jacobson made a short jumper and Redmond tied it with two free throws. S-M’s Brian Huber, who collected two key blocks, then gave S-M a 60-58 edge and a Busker free throw finished the scoring.
“This was a big win,” Busker said. “We were coming off a tough loss to Isle and we have some more tough games coming up so it was important to get a win tonight.”
The Cardinals forced 10 Pequot Lakes turnovers to open the second half and turned those into 12 points, which helped erase an 8-point halftime deficit.
Busker scored 12 of his 21 points in the second half and Kyle Jansson scored nine of his 13 in that time. S-M’s defense held Pequot to 9-of-20 shooting in the second half.
“We started that second half flat,” said Pequot head coach Garry Grewe. “We didn’t execute what we needed to do. We turned the ball over, I think, five or six times in the first six minutes and that was the ballgame.”
Pequot didn’t score its first basket of the second half until 11:51. By then S-M had claimed a 31-29 lead.
Wes Mumm scored all eight of his points in the second half to keep Pequot close.
Both Redmond and Jacobson finished with 19 points to lead the Patriots, who saw their five-game winning streak over S-M snapped.
Pequot used its size to build its halftime lead.
Trailing 12-9, the 6-foot-4 Redmond and 6-foot-3 Jacobson combined to score all 12 of Pequot’s points during a 12-2 run to claim a 21-14 edge.
Redmond scored 12 first-half points, Jacobson 11 and Keegan Johnson tallied two off the bench.
All 25 of those points came from the paint.
That helped Pequot shoot 50 percent from the field despite committing 10 turnovers.
“We just kept turning the ball over so we couldn’t get the ball into the paint like we did in the first half,” said Grewe. “We just need some consistency. We do one thing right and then we don’t finish. Or we allow penetration and then we forget a defensive assignment. We need some mental toughness.
“Bottom line, we need to execute our offense and everyone needs to be on the same page.”
Pequot Lakes 29 23 6 — 58
Staples-Motley 21 31 9 — 61
Brett Peterson 3, Jack Kreitz 2, John Craig 2, Wes Mumm 8, Jordan Redmond 19, Tyler Tappe 2, Brandon Hekir 1, Travis Jacobson 19, Keegan Johnson 2. FG 24-50 (48 percent), FT 14-19 (74 percent). 3-point 0-7 (0 percent).
Kyle Jansson 13, Brian Huber 5, Jordan Wick 4, Zach Schmitz 3, Jalen Busker 21, Seth Auger 9, Colton Borders 5. FG 20-52 (38 percent), FT 17-29 (59 percent). 3-point 4-11 (36 percent).