A class reunion will take place at 7:30 p.m. today when head coach Bill Larson takes his Pequot Lakes Patriots girls' basketball team to Wadena-Deer Creek to face college classmate Becky Woessner and the Wolverines.
Larson and Woessner both graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead and although their minds will be on the game, there could be a little sideline rivalry.
"That's going to be the fun part about it," said Larson. "There's a lot more to this than just a game."
With the Patriots are already seeded No. 1 in Section 7AA they can hone their skills and have fun, but Pequot will prepare as if it were a tournament game.
"We have not seen a full-court press for the last two or three weeks," said Larson. "For us to see pressure now is really good because you really can't get that effect in practice.
"That's why I'm really happy to play Wadena. They set a lot of good screens and picks. We're going to have to work and play good defense."
The Wolverines might be the first team that actually matches up with Pequot. W-DC's 5-foot-11 junior post Kerby Johnson is averaging 20.4 points. Pequot's Julie Redebaugh, a 6-0 junior center, is averaging 15.2.
"With a post player that can play both in and outside the paint, any time you go against someone like that there's trouble," said Larson. "We're going to match Julie on Kerby. Marissa Brown is going to be guarded by Megan Arns."
Browne is a 5-6 junior guard who's averaging 14.6 points a game. Arns is a 5-10 freshman who's contributing 12.8 points per contest.
"Depending on where he places the bigger girls we're looking for our guards to score," said Woessner. "We need to pressure their guards and try to contain Redebaugh."
Joan Ebnet is far from a role player as she's averaging 11.2 points for the Patriots, but she will play a big role in attempting to beat W-DC's full-court press. Trying to stop her will be 5-3 junior point guard Missy Speed.
"Missy Speed and Sara Kneisl have been scoring a lot more, which takes the pressure off Kerby and Marissa," said the Wolverines' third-year coach. "Missy's steals and assists have gone sky high. Without Sara's rebounds we wouldn't have as many chances at the basket. They are going to have to play big for us."
Kneisl's opponent will depend on how Pequot wants to play. With a full-court press Larson will opt for a quick guard. That's Flecia Foster a 5-8 eighth-grader who's scoring 5.8 points a game. If Larson goes with a bigger lineup, he has 6-0 junior Ashley Meschke, 6-1 eighth-grader Teresa Parker or 5-11 senior Jamie Schmidt.
At center for W-DC will be Kate Friedrich. She's only 5-6 but Woessner is confident in her play.
"Kate has been getting us a lot of boards," said Woessner. "It's fun to have all five on the floor working together, knowing what they're doing."
Neither team goes very deep as both play seven girls. Larson does have the ability to go from a quick lineup to a larger lineup.
"Their guard play scares me," said Larson. "We have a lot more height but with their speed and guard play we're going to a smaller lineup if they keep pressuring us."
Pequot is 15-3 overall, with a 4-1 Park Region Conference record. W-DC is 16-4, with a 7-0 Mid-State Conference record.
The Pine River-Backus Tigers boys' basketball team has two formidable matchups this week, the first coming 7:30 p.m. today at Crosby.
In a game pitting two Section 7AA teams, who will be vying for a state tournament berth, C-I has had an up and down season and will go as far as the quality of its guard play.
The Rangers' post play of Ben Baratto, Joel Anderson and Kyle Bartels has played beyond expectations but will be tested by Justin Kelley and Ross Kleiner.
On Friday a game that was postponed matches the Tigers and Pillager Huskies. This Park Region Conference game should be interesting and if nothing else should give both teams a good tuneup before the playoffs.
Size-wise Pillager matches up with PR-B. Ryan Kavanaugh is the same height as Kelley, but the Tigers' 6-5 senior has a ton of talent and experience on his side. Point guard Nick Keefe's ability to stop Pillager's Lee Roberts, who scored 32 points in his last game, will be a factor.
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