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8-2A Girls Basketball: Patriots hope to prevail again vs. Hawley

Pequot Lakes hopes to maintain its recent good fortune against the Hawley Nuggets.

The Patriots have defeated Hawley twice in the last three postseasons on their way to the Class 2A state tournament. Pequot won 55-52 in triple overtime in the 2012 Section 8-2A final and went on to finish fourth at the state tournament. In 2011, the Patriots tarnished the Nuggets 73-48 in the subsection final before beating East Grand Forks for the section crown.

On Friday night, the Patriots meet Hawley for the section championship at Concordia College. Pequot was the top seed in the North Subsection, Hawley was No. 1 in the South. Both teams were unranked in the final 2A poll.

Senior Vanessa Lane leads Pequot in scoring (19.4 points), rebounds (8.5) and steals (2.4). Senior Kayla Miller averages 14.9 points and 2.4 rebounds. Senior Katie White averages 12.3 points and 4.8 boards.

“Our senior group is going for their third state tournament. I like our experience and our composure,” Pequot coach Jon Dale said.

Sophomore Haley Wiebolt contributes 7.5 points and 2.2 rebounds. The Patriots’ fifth starter will be juniors Emilee Buell or Caitie Ryan. Buell averages 4.7 points and 2.4 rebounds, Ryan 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.

The Patriots have won their last seven games, 12 of their last 13, to raise their record to 22-6. Their only losses were to Thief River Falls, Mountain Iron-Buhl (twice), Esko and Detroit Lakes (twice). TRF is ranked fourth in 3A, MI-B is ranked third in 1A, Esko is 23-5 and playing in the 7-2A semifinals and Detroit Lakes finished 20-7.

“We have not lost to a dog,” Dale said.

The Patriots are fresh off a 70-43 dismantling of East Grand Forks for the North Subsection title. Miller scored 21 points, Lane 20 and Pequot bolted to a 44-22 halftime edge.

“The kids are really pumped,” Dale said. “That probably (against EGF) was the best we’ve played, defensively and offensively, coming out with a good start.

“I think we have some momentum. The kids are excited. We’ll see what happens.”

Hawley has won 15 in a row and is 21-6. The Nuggets are in the section final after a heart-stopping 61-58 double-overtime win over Breckenridge for the South Subsection title. Junior guard Brittany Laddusaw buried a game-winning trey with 1.8 seconds remaining in the second overtime to give Hawley a date against the Patriots.

As the buzzer was about to sound at the end of regulation, Laddusaw missed a three and the game went to overtime tied at 44. With 13.2 seconds left in the second overtime, Laddusaw buried the dagger.

Laddusaw finished with 14 points, all in the second half. Hawley was led by sophomore guard Mira Ellefson with 19 points. Junior guard Olivia Olson and 6-foot junior post Karyssa Hovelson each added 12.

“They play a little different style. They kind of slow it down,” Dale said. “I think if we just play our style, control the tempo, just play the way we’ve been playing all year long, we’ll be fine.

“We don’t need to change anything up. I like the matchup.”

Story by Mike Bialka - Forum News Service.