PEQUOT LAKES — Good teams find ways to win and Pequot Lakes did just that Friday night.
Statistically speaking the Patriots and Crosby-Ironton Rangers were near equals, but it was Pequot that pulled out a 67-58 Mid-State Conference win in Pequot’s beautiful new gym.
Pequot Lakes shot 25-of-58 from the field. C-I shot 25-for-59. The Patriots were 11-of-21 from the line, while the Rangers were 9-of-17.
The one key was 3-point shooting. Pequot was 4-of-8 from long range and none more key than Katie White’s third of the game. With C-I cutting into Pequot’s lead at 54-51, White drained a 3-pointer to increase the lead and Pequot made free throws down the stretch to remain perfect in the conference at 2-0 and gain much needed confidence.
“Free throws have been a nemesis for us,” said Pequot’s head coach Jon Dale. “Against East Grand Forks we were 12-of-36. It’s just been everything for us. We need to put everything together and I think we did tonight.
“It’s still early. Kayla (Miller) is getting stronger and that’s only going to help. I was pleased with this game. We needed a quality win.”
C-I opened the second half with a 6-0 run after trailing 38-29 at the half. Meredith Silgen, who was held to four first-half points, got hot by scoring 11 in the second half.
“We didn’t make any adjustments at halftime,” said C-I head coach Randy Swanhorst. “These two teams know each other very well and we had certain things we felt we could get some mismatches and I felt we did that throughout the game.
“Ultimately, it was just a really great effort by the kids. Then we got some stops and got another basket. I honestly think the kids just rose up and played strong and gave us an opportunity. But we were just never able to get over the hump.”
Pequot answered with an 8-2 run thanks to Vanessa Lane, who finished with 18 points. Of Lane’s 18 points, nine were on second-chance opportunities.
“We really have not been getting many second chances this year, but tonight we did,” said Dale. “We played actually better defense tonight than we have been playing. We rely so much on our scoring that we just don’t play defense. I thought we improved on that.
“They’re a good team so it’s finally a quality win. We’ve played a lot of quality teams, but they’re quality losses and we were ahead of all of them. We needed a quality win and this was it.”
Shannon Lundgren led C-I with 16 points and Lauren Peterson scored 13 for the Rangers, who had the deficit down to four and three points in the second half, but couldn’t close the gap completely. C-I was 7-of-14 from the free throw line in the first half and just 2-of-3 in the second half.
“The right team won tonight,” said C-I coach Randy Swanhorst. “We’re not going to beat good teams until we capitalize on these opportunities we have. We didn’t tonight.
“But I’m also very proud of our kids. Part of this is my own fault. I think I gave too much time off during the Christmas break and then when we had school called off we couldn’t practice then either so we had a five-day stretch there were we didn’t practice. There wasn’t shooting or conditioning or timing we could have worked on, so I’m really proud of our kids with how they played with limited practice time.”
White finished with 21 points. The senior scored 13 of those in the first half as Pequot shot 53 percent from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point. Miller added 13 points for Pequot, which has suffered tough losses to Thief River Falls and twice to Mountain Iron-Buhl before gaining Friday’s key victory.
Crosby-Ironton 29 29 — 58
Pequot Lakes 38 29 — 67
Lauren Peterson 13, Hallie Schmidt 6, Meredith Silgen 15, Shannon Lundgren 16, Jamie Nelson 2, Abby Gindorff 6. FG 24-59 (41 percent), FT 9-17 (53 percent). 3-point 2-11 (18 percent).
Caitie Ryan 4, Haley Wiebolt 7, Vanessa Lane 18, Emilee Buell 4, Katie White 21, Kayla Miller 13. FG 26-58 (45 percent), FT 11-21 (52 percent). 3-point 4-8 (50 percent).