PINE RIVER -- Whether it's a big game or not Sarah Laposky is going to show up and play.
Laposky has led the Pine River-Backus Tigers in scoring in all seven games, scoring 20 or more points four times. She's been in double figures every game. Her lowest point total came in a loss to Staples-Motley where she still managed 12 points.
"Sarah has always done well with going to the basket and being aggressive on offense," Tigers head coach Tom Lupella said. "She has a natural ability to find the basket and score."
Although only a junior most of Pine River-Backus' opponents know who the Tigers' go-to girl is.
"She's very quick off the dribble and you have to know where she is on the court at all times," Pequot Lakes head coach Bill Larson said. "It's impressive when you have to design a whole week of practice around one player and that's what we did in preparation for Pine River. We designed our whole practice around her."
"I realize teams are going to be keying on me," said Laposky. "I still try to do my best and not let it get to my head. I try not to get too nervous or too down on myself if I don't do well."
In a loss to Pequot Lakes on Jan. 4, Laposky managed 21 points against the second-ranked team in Class AA, a team that prides itself on defense. She then scored 21 more points in a blowout of Menahga on Jan. 6.
"She shot really well against Menahga," Lupella said. "I think she was 10-for-17. She shoots around 50 percent from the field every game.
"If we need an outside shot she's the highest percentage shooter we have so we like to go with her. We would rather get down low and get the easy post shot, but if that isn't there Sarah is a good option."
Laposky isn't just a shooter but a true basketball player who incorporates all her basketball skills in order to win.
"She works hard all the time," said Lupella. "At both ends of the court she's working hard. That's one of her attributes. She never quits and never gives up. Besides her scoring she's really good defensively, too.
"Most of the time you get a player who's really outstanding offensively but they don't work hard on defense. Not Sarah. She's a pretty complete player."
"This year coming in I wanted to play better defense," said Laposky. "I knew for sure that was something I needed to work on. I think I have improved in that area."
Laposky also was a member of The Dispatch's All-Area Volleyball Team this fall was an All-Park Region Conference basketball selection last season. Despite the personal accolades she is determined to help her team stay competitive.
"We still want to win the conference," Laposky said. "We're going to have to beat Pequot, but I think we can."
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Pierz's Cyndi Kimman scored 20 points, grabbed 10 boards and dished out four assists to help the ninth-ranked Pioneers to victory.
Heather Neznik of Pequot Lakes knocked in 25 points in a win over McGregor.
Mandy Boyd and Jennifer Straughn combined for 45 points to lead Aitkin over Chisholm.
Krista Anderson and Kati Galovich helped the Crosby-Ironton Rangers win over Pillager. Anderson had 21 points and Galovich scored 22.
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