PEQUOT LAKES -- Pierz Pioneers girls' basketball coach Rick Sczublewski was adamant when trying to convince Pequot Lakes coach Bill Larson that the home court translated into six points.
If Sczublewski is right, then Pierz was 16 points better than the Patriots Tuesday as it broke a two-game losing streak and snapped Pequot's seven-game win streak with a 58-48 non-conference victory.
The Pioneers used a balanced scoring attack and 21 of 33 shooting from the free throw line, to finally beat Pequot. Two years ago the Patriots won by one. Last year Pequot won by two.
"This feels great because (the games have) been so close," said Pierz junior Emily Stumpf. "To finally pull this off is really a good challenge.
"Mentally, we needed this win coming off two tough losses to Rockford and Kimball. This will probably put us at a first seed in the playoffs, so it's really good."
This time, the Patriots never found an offensive rhythm, shooting 30 percent (20 of 66) from the floor. Teresa Parker, the area's leading scorer, was held to just 14 points, five below her average.
"We knew we had to stop either Parker or (Flecia) Foster," said Sczublewski. "We knew we couldn't stop both of them. We thought if we could hold one in the teens, and the other would probably get 20, that's probably 35 or 40 points and we have a good chance."
Stumpf led Pierz with 14 points. All of those came in the second half as she helped Pierz increase a 25-18 halftime lead into a 30-20 lead midway through the third quarter.
Pierz coach Rick Sczublewski guided the Pioneers to a 58-48 victory over Pequot Lakes Tuesday night to snap a two-game losing streak. (Dispatch Photo by Clint Wood)
"Usually the third quarter is kind of our down quarter, but we came out and we knew we could beat them," Stumpf said. "We just had to control Parker and we did that. We just doubled down on her. We knew where she was at all times."
The Patriots fought back, mounting a 10-1 run. Foster scored two of her game-high 22 points in the run. Parker added two, Mandie Roggenkamp had four of her six points and Ashley Meschke scored two of her six.
Those four were the only players to score for Pequot as Pierz shut down the inside, then dug in with a zone defense.
"We ran into two girls that are both physically strong," Larson said of Allyson Kloss and Becky Korf. "You have to give Teresa a lot of credit in every game she's in but she got double teamed a lot. They did a real nice job covering her and that was a good job by Rick setting that up."
Pequot's full-court press was the main reason it was able to pull within a point. Once Pierz broke the press the game was over.
"We knew what we wanted to do, but we just didn't do it," Sczublewski said of breaking the press. "Once we got the ball over their press we had good opportunities to score."
Those opportunities translated into Kari Block's 12 points and Kloss' nine. Korf added 13 points, with nine coming from three-pointers in the first half.
"One thing that we wanted to make sure was their second- and third-chance opportunities didn't come," said Larson. "I thought we did a decent job on the boards. Then they started to open things up and that's what really hurt. They spread us out way too much. They got us out of where we should have been in the low post."
The fourth quarter came down to free throws. The Pioneers attempted 18 in the final frame, making 12, to hold off any Pequot comeback.
"We haven't shot our free throws that well," said Sczublewski. "When you play good teams, on the road, in playoff conditions, like we considered this game, you have to make those free throws. You have to have those opportunities and in the second half we did."
Pierz 8 17 11 22 -- 58
Pequot Lakes 6 12 14 16 -- 48
Allyson Kloss 9, Kari Block 12, Nicole Meyer 6, Becky Korf 13, Emily Stumpf 14, Kristin Kapsner 4. Team totals: FG 17-40 (43 percent), FT 21-33 (64 percent). Overall -- 12-8. Next game: Host Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 7:30 .m. Thursday.
PEQUOT LAKES (48)
Flecia Foster 22, Teresa Parker 14, Ashley Meschke 6, Mandie Roggenkamp 6. Team totals: FG 20-66 (30 percent), FT 8-16 (50 percent). Overall -- 15-3. Next game: Host McGregor 7:30 p.m. Friday.
3-point baskets -- P 3 (Korf 3). Fouled out -- PL-Parker, Roggenkamp.
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