PEQUOT LAKES -- The Staples-Motley Cardinals showed up fashionably late to their first-round game in the Pequot Lakes Holiday girls' basketball tournament Friday.
The advantageous Pierz Pioneers made them pay with a 25-17 halftime lead. But once the Cardinals warmed up they scorched the nets for 37 second-half points and a 54-47 victory.
Jacque Peterson scored all 14 of her points in the second half and Melissa Roberts scored nine of her 10 points in the last two quarters. The Cardinals shot 58 percent (14-24) from the field in the second half compared to 22 percent in the first half.
"That's been our Achilles heel, especially on the inside," said Cardinals coach Arden Beachy. "When we played Pequot and Detroit Lakes we missed 20 shots that we normally don't miss. We just struggled.
"Plus, Pierz really hustled. We came out a little lackadaisical and I always tell my girls you have to match the other team's aggressiveness. Pierz just had us off kilter."
Staples-Motley 54, Pierz 47
The key: Jacque Peterson scored all 14 of her points in the second half to lift S-M (4-2) over Pierz (4-3).
Next game: Staples-Motley played Foley, 1 p.m. Saturday at Pequot Lakes
Jacque Peterson led S-M with 14 points.
Many of S-M's early troubles were caused by the Pioneers, who forced 12 first-half turnovers. Kayla Meyer scored eight of her 12 points in the first half and Kristin Sczublewski had seven of her team-high 13 points in the first.
"They had some trouble with our press and we got some early transition baskets," said Pierz coach Rick Sczublewski. "In the second half I thought Staples played with a little more energy. They came out a little harder. The thing is they are very athletic and once they start getting a feel for the game those athletes make plays. They weren't making them in the first half."
The Cardinals' quick defense finally did in the Pioneers, forcing eight third-quarter turnovers leading to a 40-35 edge.
"We have to get our traps on the full-court pressure and make our cuts," said Beachy. "The biggest thing is we have to finish. We're getting into the lane all the time, but people are just putting up weak shots. I just got after them and told them they had to finish."
But the Pioneers persisted as Mel Waytashek scored six of her 10 points in the fourth quarter. The junior center added nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Liza Milless scored 12 points for S-M, which shot just 50 percent from the foul line, but outrebounded Pierz 37-29.
"We're pretty quick, but they're quicker," said Rick Sczublewski. "Staples is so quick and it just wears on you. I was happy with our performance. I thought we did a good job but I would like to have a better ending."
Pierz 7 18 10 12 -- 47
Staples-Motley 6 11 23 14 -- 54
Mel Waytashek 10, Kayla Meyer 12, Kristin Sczublewski 13, Jenae Swanson 4, Sarah Froelich 4, Kaitlyn Jensen 4. Team totals: FG 17-46 (37 percent), FT 10-16 (63 percent), 3-point baskets: 1-7 (Meyer 1).
Jacque Peterson 14, Kim Mosack 5, Kendell Spar 8, Melissa Roberts 10, Liza Milless 12, Chelsea Einerwold 4, Brittany Miller 1. Team totals: FG 21-56 (38 percent), FT 11-21 (52 percent), 3-point baskets: 1-3 (Milless 1).
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.