PEQUOT LAKES -- With athleticism and a crafty veteran the Staples-Motley Cardinals girls' basketball team improved its winning streak to five games Friday.
The Cardinals' relentless defense created 21 Pierz Pioneers turnovers. It also held Pierz to 38 percent shooting, leading to a 57-47 victory in the first round of the Pequot Lakes holiday tournament.
Four-year starter Michelle Honek led the Cardinals' balanced offense with 11 points, but S-M's defense made the difference.
"Our girls really do go at it," said Cardinals coach Ron Beachy. "A lot of times when we get in foul trouble it's a case where we're a little out of control. We end up being in the wrong spot. We were in the right spot (Friday)."
Senior Steph Jares had eight points and sophomore Kendell Spar added nine. But juniors Jacque Peterson (7 points), Kim Mosack (8 points), Melissa Roberts (4 points) and Liza Milless (10 points) kept the Pioneers from any easy baskets with their quick feet.
"We really used our speed," said Milless. "A lot of us have a lot of quickness and we use that to get the opponent off their game."
A 10-2 run in the second quarter helped the Cardinals to a 32-24 halftime lead.
Then, Pierz senior Emily Stumpf scored 12 of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter. The point guard scored all but two of the Pioneers' third-quarter points to keep Pierz close. She added seven rebounds, three steals and three assists.
Becky Korf, who finished with nine points, five rebounds and three steals, scored the other two points.
"I thought Emily had her best game of the year and she's had some good games for us," said Pierz coach Rick Sczublewski. "She's been wanting to be more aggressive on offense inside. The last couple of years, Emily has been an outside shooter and wanting to hit that 3-pointer. Now she's taking it to the hoop a little more."
The quicker Cardinals shot 48 percent from the field. They were 5-of-5 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
"We wanted to get a little jump and get things going better," said Beachy. "We needed a little charge or one good solid push and try to hold that lead."
S-M sought to avenge its only loss of the season when it played Pequot Lakes in the championship Saturday night.
Staples-Motley 16 16 15 10 -- 57
Pierz 13 11 14 9 -- 47
Michelle Honek 11, Jacque Peterson 7, Kendell Spar 9, Kim Mosack 8, Steph Jares 8, Melissa Roberts 4, Liza Milless 10. Team totals: FG 25-53 (47 percent), FT 6-15 (40 percent), 3-pointers: 1-3 (Peterson). Conference -- 1-1. Overall -- 5-1. Next game: at Pequot Lakes 5 p.m. Saturday
Emily Stumpf 20, Becky Korf 9, Kristin Kapsner 4, Mel Waytashek 5, Nicole Boser 7, Renee Korf 2. Team totals: FG 19-49 (38 percent), FT 9-14 (64 percent), 3-pointers: 0-8. Conference -- 1-1. Overall -- 4-3. Next game: vs. Foley at Pequot Lakes tournament 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
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