Statistically speaking, Mindy Howard is not having her best season.
The Pequot Lakes senior isn't complaining, however, as the Patriots are enjoying their best season in Howard's four-year varsity career.
Pequot stands at 16-6 and a half-game behind Detroit Lakes for the Mid-State Conference lead with a 6-2 mark. The Patriots just knocked off long-time nemesis DL Feb. 12. Howard led the way with 23 points in the 70-55 Pequot victory.
She tallied 16 points in the Patriots' 71-52 win over Northland Feb. 10 and in a loss to Class 2A's second-ranked East Grand Forks Feb. 14, the forward tallied 19 points.
"It's weird being the only senior," said Howard. "Other than that it's been a lot of fun. I've really enjoyed the season and I'm very proud of us. I never thought we would be 16-6.
"I'm really proud of how we played up at Grand Rapids. We were supposed to lose by 40 and we ended up winning (82-66)."
Last year Howard led the area with 535 points to go with 146 rebounds, 107 assists, 91 steals and 17 blocked shots. She shot 40.8 percent from the field, 73.7 percent from the foul line.
School: Pequot Lakes
Key stat: Tallied 57 points in three games last week
Those numbers helped Pequot to the Section 8-2A final, where it fell to the highly ranked Crookston Pirates. The Patriots finished 11-16.
As a sophomore she earned All-Mid-State Conference and Brainerd Dispatch All-Area honors. She was the area's second-leading scorer with 397 points to go with 124 rebounds, 117 assists, 63 steals and nine blocked shots. She shot 37 percent from the field, 78 percent from the line.
During her freshman season she was the second-leading scorer with 237 points to go with 103 rebounds, 89 assists, 53 steals and 10 blocks.
"I started this season with a huge slump," said Howard. "At the beginning of the year I was only getting seven or eight points and not doing good at all. I was very frustrated. As the season has gone on, I've done better. That's kind of how it goes for me. I have been getting a lot more rebounds and steals."
Rebounding and defense were two areas Howard concentrated on during the offseason. With the graduation of starting center Katie Finn, and forward Madison Engen, Howard knew rebounding would be a key.
But her biggest contribution has always been putting points on the board. She entered the season as the eighth-leading scorer in program history with 1,169 points.
Now she's hoping to score enough points to get her Patriots back into the section final and maybe to state
"Our biggest goal is to get to state," said Howard. "We have a team motto and it's, 'One team, one dream.' State is our goal. That would be cool to end your senior year down there."
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Meredith Chaput, Aitkin, scored 31 points against Onamia.
Alicia Johnson, Verndale, finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds against Menahga.
Whitney Weisz, Little Falls, had 20 points and 15 rebounds against St. Cloud Cathedral.
Gabrielle Boser, Pierz, scored 20 points against Holdingford.
Emily Mehr, Aitkin, scored 23 points against Hinckley-Finlayson.
Katie Swanhorst, Crosby-Ironton, scored 21 points against East Grand Forks.
Courtney Volkmann, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 20 points against Park Rapids.
Gymnastics: Rachelle LeBlanc, Little Falls, won the bars, floor, vault and all-around against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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