Girls Basketball: Cougars' dream season comes to a closeZumbrota-Mazeppa couldn’t summon any more postseason magic Wednesday at the Class 2A girls basketball state tournament in a 57-46 loss to Pequot Lakes at Williams Arena.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
Zumbrota-Mazeppa couldn’t summon any more postseason magic Wednesday at the Class 2A girls basketball state tournament in a 57-46 loss to Pequot Lakes at Williams Arena.
Mattie Lueck came on in the second half to score 18 points for the Patriots (21-11) who will move on to face Providence Academy Friday in the semifinals. Kayla Miller added 18 points and helped Pequot Lakes maintain a slim lead in the first half as Lueck sat on the bench in foul trouble.
Lueck missed the final 11 minutes of the first half with three fouls and the Cougars (17-12) had an opportunity to take control.
“If we could have got up five or six … that was the time to do something and we didn’t get it done,” Z-M head coach Scott Paukert said.
Instead the Cougars trailed 20-17 at halftime due to poor shooting. Z-M fell behind by as much as 11 in the first half and closed out the half on an 8-0 run despite shooting less than 26 percent from the field in the first half.
Cougars senior Ashley Hinsch finished with 12 points, 10 of which came in the second half, before fouling out with four minutes to play. Junior Laura Brunner led Z-M with 15 points, six of which came in the first half.
“I think we were really nervous and we really couldn’t make anything,” Hinsch said, who battled a cold throughout the game. “It just sucked that tonight happened to be the night we couldn’t hit shots.”
The Cougars shot 35.7 percent from the field in the second half and finished 30 percent for the game. The Patriots finished 11 of 22 from the field in the second half and shot 35.3 percent for the game.
Pequot Lakes finished 19 of 24 from the free-throw line. Miller finished 10-for-10 from the line and Lueck went 8-for-10.
Z-M started the second half with turnovers on three of its first five possessions and the Patriots expanded the lead to 11 at the 10:20 mark.
“I don’t feel that we left our best game out on the court.” Paukert said. “I don’t know if it was the atmosphere or what. We worked hard, we kept battling but just kept coming up short all the time.”
Lueck scored the first seven points of the second half for the Patriots, who knocked off Hawley for the Section 8AA title.
Pequot Lakes limited the Cougars offensively through a trapping press and clogging the lane.