The Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus boys’ basketball teams both tip off the regular season on Friday, Nov. 22.
The Patriots will open by hosting Aitkin in the first varsity basketball game in the new Pequot Lakes Athletic Center. Coach Shaun Howard’s Tigers will travel to Nevis for the opener.
This one of the earliest starts for boys’ basketball in many years for the Minnesota State High School League. The change was made because of a scheduling conflict with the state tournament dates next spring at the Target Center.
For the Patriots, the opener marks the first time in 12 seasons that Pequot Lakes will have a different head coach for boys’ basketball as Ben Starns replaces Garry Grewe.
“I think it’s great because we’re iching to get started,” Starns said of the early opener. “It will be tough for schools, like Brainerd, whose football teams are going deep into the playoffs. Those players will have a late start for basketball.”
Last season, the Patriots finished 6-4 in the Mid-State Conference and 11-16 overall. The leading scorer averaging 18.4 points, Jordan Redmond, has graduated. Pequot Lakes’ next four scorers do return – seniors Travis Jacobson (11.7 points), Tyler Tappe (6.9), Brett Peterson (5.9) and John Craig (3.6).
The Pequot Lakes and PR-B boys started practice on Nov. 11 while the girls’ basketball teams across the state opened practice on Nov. 18.