PEQUOT LAKES -- Close only counts in horseshoes unfortunately for the Pequot Lakes Patriots girls' basketball team.
Only five games away from tying the state record for most home wins in a row, Pequot hosted the Staples-Motley Cardinals Friday. The Cardinals snapped Pequot's 51-game home win streak by a score of 53-37 in a season-opening, non-conference game.
It's been 15 years since new Cardinals coach Ron Beachy manned the sidelines let alone won a game, but it looked as if he had never left.
"It's tough to get the feel for it again -- when to call a timeout and when not to," said Beachy. "In fact we had timeouts left, but I really didn't want to take them out of the flow of the game so I stayed away from them.
"I was nervous. It was like going to town and getting the best cuts of meat and making a meal and wondering if the meal is good or not.
"This is a good group of girls. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't spoiling it."
Beachy was putting on a three-course meal as they had the defense, offense and transition games working for them.
With a solid defense, the Cardinals were able to take away Pequot's game plan of pounding the middle with Teresa Parker and Julie Redebaugh.
"We started out in a zone defense and that worked just fine," said Beachy. "In fact, we should have just stayed in it, but we switched things around and went to man(-to-man defense) and the girls liked that. So we stayed with that.
"They got a few lob passes down low, but you have to make a pretty good pass to get it in there," added Beachy. "I knew their height was their big thing. I knew we weren't going to match up so we went zone."
Parker did finish with 22 points and helped Pequot gain the first lead with 5:36 remaining in the first half.
Then S-M went on a roll knocking in six consecutive points and holding Pequot scoreless for exactly five minutes. Pequot's last points came with just six seconds left in the half to close to a 23-17 halftime deficit.
"They really overplayed our guards," said Pequot coach Bill Larson. "Down low they were doubling up our posts. That's obviously our main focus.
"We were supposed to flash our weak side wing and our weak side wing wasn't moving enough and our down low post wasn't flashing to the top of the key and that's where they were doubling down from.
"When we made the adjustments for that they couldn't double down as much and we were able to get some people open for a high low game. We just didn't realize that right away. That takes some time and hopefully we'll have it down by January."
Neither team shot the ball well. Pequot was 8-of-24 for 33 percent while the Cardinals shot just 26 percent (9-34) in the first half. The difference was the amount of shots as S-M's defense prevented Pequot's offense from getting into any rhythm.
Down by just two points heading into the fourth quarter, Pequot hung in there until three minutes left. That's when Cardinals point guard Laura Warn took over. The senior knocked in 16 of her game high 26 points in the final frame. Most of those from the free-throw line as she was 12-of-16 from the line. In all S-M shot 33 free throws connecting on 23 of them.
"We practice them a lot," said Warn. "This was a good win for us. To come here and beat a good team like this is good. We knew we had a good team this year and we were excited and we just wanted to see how good."
The last time the Patriots lost at home was Jan. 23, 1998, against Two Harbors.
Staples-Motley 11 12 8 22 -- 53
Pequot Lakes 6 13 10 8 -- 37
Laura Warn 26, Heather Gold 6, Emily Waldahl 2, Rachel Domier 2, Stephanie Rice 6, Michelle Honek 11. Team totals: FG 13-54 (24 percent), FT 23-33 (69 percent). Overall -- 1-0. Next game: Staples-Motley at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
PEQUOT LAKES (37)
Teresa Parker 22, Ashley Meschke 4, Julie Redebaugh 3, Flecia Foster 8. Team totals: FG 14-51 (27 percent), FT 5-8 (63 percent). Overall -- 0-1. Next game: Pequot Lakes at Pine River-Backus 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
3-point baskets -- SM 2 (Honek 2). Total fouls -- PL 22; SM 15. Fouled out -- PL Foster, Sara Langer; SM-Honek.
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