PEQUOT LAKES -- The Pequot Lakes Patriots girls' basketball team might be comparable to the New York Yankees with their rich tradition of winning and quality captains.
With names like Biebighauser and Neznik the Patriots have quietly built a dynasty in the Brainerd lakes area. Now with a new leader in charge, the Patriots are still considered one of the best teams. An example of that is their No. 1 ranking in the Section 7AA seedings.
A reason for the continued success has been the play of their new captain, junior Julie Redebaugh.
The 6-foot center scored 31 points Thursday in an 82-31 win over Henning. On the season Redebaugh is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds a game. She's scored 277 points with a 45 percent shooting percentage. She's also connected on 10 three-pointers.
"The way we run our offense we look for 60 to 70 percent of our shots to come from the low post," said Pequot Lakes coach Bill Larson. "She is our primary go-to person.
"Offensively there's been a lot of teams double-teaming her. She's been able to fight through them. Her movement around the basketball has really gotten better, especially over the last few weeks."
With a younger team Redebaugh is asked to be the director of personnel on the court. Because of that her offense has struggled a little this season.
"I expected her to take on the role around Christmas but she's been working so hard that she developed right away," Larson said.
"For both her and Joan (Ebnet) it's been different," said Larson. "Julie's responsibility is the toughest because she is the anchor offensively and defensively."
At the start of the year Larson gave Redebaugh the responsibility of guarding the opposition's best post player. Now that responsibility has been put on Ashley Meschke and Jamie Schmidt, giving Redebaugh the ability to roam the paint.
"She's been getting steals and blocked shots away from the ball," said Larson. "That's where she's really helping us.
"Playing the post she's able to tell everyone else where to go and she's been taking the role of helping everyone else."
Because of the pressure to lead the team, Redebaugh has had games where she's tried to do too much. Because of that she's found herself in foul trouble. But the last couple of games Redebaugh has been phenomenal.
"I've been helped out a little bit," Redebaugh said about her leadership role. "I'm used to leaning on other people so it was a little hard at first. I've gotten used to it.
"I feel like I have to prove myself every game. If I don't do that I get a little frustrated."
One place where Redebaugh has improved her offense is her shooting range. She's not limited to shooting in the paint as she's been able to knock down the long jumper and even a couple of three-pointers.
"This summer I told myself I can't just stay down low, I have to be able to shoot from anywhere," said Redebaugh, who was selected by Minnesota Basketball News as one of the top 100 players in the state. "It's opened up the offense."
With a young team this season the Patriots weren't expected to compete against the more experienced teams. But the Patriots are 15-3 thanks in large part to their junior captain.
"You hope as a coach that it's a cycle," said Larson. "Julie and Joan moved up as eighth-graders just like the girls before them so it has been a cycle.
"Julie has had the toughest job out of any this year and that's because of the youngness of our team. She really has to control and help with what the other players are doing on the court."
Other notable athletes:
Basketball -- Shiela Stegora of Pierz scored 18 points, dished out five assists and collected five steals in a 55-39 win over Foley. Stegora finished with 19 points and eight assists Thursday against Holdingford.
Pierz's Allyson Kloss scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a win Feb. 12 over Foley. She also had 17 points and seven rebounds in an 83-62 win over Holdingford.
Laura Warn scored 24 points to help the Staples-Motley Cardinals over the Perham Yellowjackets 69-62. Warn added 10 in a loss to Breckenridge.
Pine River-Backus' Sarah Laposky scored 31 points in a 74-41 win over Sebeka. She added 27 points in a win over Bertha-Hewitt.
Aitkin's Jennifer Straughn scored 20 points in a 75-37 loss Thursday to Ogilvie.
Marissa Brown of Wadena-Deer Creek scored 25 points in a 73-45 win over Crosby-Ironton.
Kati Galovich of C-I scored 23 points and collected six rebounds in a loss to W-DC.
Gymnastics -- Kristi Wood advanced to the Class A state meet thanks to a 9.0 on her balance beam routine Saturday. Wood finished ninth in the all-around.
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