The Pequot Lakes Patriots boys’ basketball team finished 0-2 at the Little Falls Holiday tournament on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28-29.
But there were signs of optimism playing against a field of three teams all with winning records, including Upsala which eventually defeated Little Falls 71-67 for the title while improving to 7-0 overall.
On Friday, the Patriots opened with an 84-58 loss to Upsala, which is ranked No. 7 in Class A. Pequot Lakes then battled back before losing to Sauk Centre 69-60 in the third-place game on Saturday.
But despite dropping to 4-5 overall, a young Pequot Lakes’ squad continues to develop and learn while facing talented opponents.
“Upsala is one of the better teams that we will face all year,” said Pequot Lakes coach Garry Grewe. “They were quick and they beat us off the dribble. And (Sauk Centre) also had a nice team. We had trouble with their pressure.
“But we made some nice adjustments (against Sauk Centre) in the second half. We’re starting to develop offensively, and we’re getting better at not only breaking the press, but turning it into points. I was very pleased with our effort.”
The Mainstreeters came after the Patriots early, using full-court pressure to force three turnovers in the opening minutes and build a 16-5 advantage. Patrick Knoblauch scored five of his game-high 29 points to spark Sauk Centre. At the other end of the court, Pequot Lakes couldn’t get close-range shots to fall.
But that changed as the Patriots rallied with a 12-0 run to grab their first lead of the game. The run was sparked by six points from Jordan Redmond. The senior, and only returning starter for Pequot Lakes, finished with a team-high 19 points before fouling out with 8:15 remaining.
The Patriots grabbed a 21-20 lead with eight minutes left in the opening half. But that’s as close as they would come as the Mainstreeters began to build a lead, outscoring Pequot Lakes 18-7 before intermission. The rally was sparked by Knoblauch, who finished with 20 first-half points.
Pequot Lakes cut the deficit to 43-38 in the opening minutes of the second half after a pair of baskets by Tyler Tappe, and layups by Travis Jacobson and Redmond. But Sauk Centre gained a double-digit lead for most of the second half. The Patriots did have a 32-31 scoring edge in the second half.
Redmond was selected to the all-tournament team after scoring 28 points in two games. Jacobson finished with 32 points, including 18 in the third-place game.
The Patriots return to action with a Mid-State Conference game at Staples-Motley on Friday, Dec. 4.
The Pequot Lakes junior varsity team finished second in their tournament after defeating Upsala 50-45 but losing to Sauk Centre 50-46. Against Upsala, C.J. Borleis led the Patriots with 16, followed by Connor Davich with 12, Jack Kreitz 10, Hunter Larson six, Brandon Heihir four and Jackson Goerges two.
Against Sauk Centre, Borleis had 12, Hehir 11, Davich 10, Kreitz six, Goerges three, and Erik Elverum and Jon Bocklund each had two.
Pequot Lakes 28 32 – 60
Sauk Centre 38 31 – 69
Brett Peterson 5, Kevin Beltz 6, Wes Mumm 5, Jordan Redmond 19, Tyler Tappe 7, Travis Jacobson 18. FT 10-18 (56 percent). FG 23-46 (50 percent). 3-point baskets: Beltz 2, Mumm, Peterson.
Patrick Knoblauch 29, Austin Landkammer 9, Matthew Moritz 4, Josh Buschette 13, Nick Adams 10, Adam Jensen 2, Casey Weber 2. FT 18-32 (56 percent). FG 23-46 (50 percent). 3-point baskets: Knoblauch 3, Buschette 2.
Upsala 84, Patriots 58
The Cardinals assumed a 50-36 halftime lead before outscoring Pequot Lakes 34-18 in the second half for a convincing win.
Christian Pekarek finished with a game-high 21 while teammate Dylan Zimmerman added 18 for Upsala, which made 20 of 30 free throws.
Tappe led Pequot Lakes with 15 points while Jacobson added 14, including 12 in the first half.
Upsala 50 34 — 84
Pequot Lakes 36 18 — 58
Eric Frieler 7, Matt Abeler 6, Christian Pekarek 21, Avery Smieja 14, Andy Nelson 6, Garrett Wolf 3, Nick Frieler 9, Dylan Zimmerman 18. FT 20-30 (67 percent). 3-point baskets: Frieler 3, Pekarek, Nelson, Zimmerman.
Peterson 7, Mumm 5, Michael Ryan 6, Redmond 8, Tappe 15, Brandon Hehir 3, Jacobson 14. FT 5-8 (63 percent). 3-point baskets: Peterson, Tappe