Annandale coach Skip Dolan has a saying: “The first half is for show, the second for dough.”
That could not have been more true in the Cardinals’ victory over the Patriots.
Pequot Lakes (24-7) didn’t miss much in the first half, which ended with No. 3-seeded Annandale (29-2) leading 32-30. The Patriots made 12 of 21 field-goal attempts in the first half, six of them three-pointers, to keep the game close.
It reminded Dolan of what happened to his team in the Section 6 finals, when the Cardinals trailed Albany by eight points at halftime before rallying to pull away in the second half.
“That’s two halftimes in a row,” Dolan said. “We just said, ‘You’re seniors. Breathe. We just have to play our offensive game.’ When they’re hitting downtown threes and pull-up jumpers from 15 feet, if they’re shooting these kinds of shots all the time, we figure the tide is going to turn.”
Which it did in the second half. The longer, taller Cardinals made a slight change in their defense, putting guard Bryce Fobbe on Pequot Lakes sharpshooter Eli Laposky. It worked. Laposky who had 15 point at halftime, was held to a single basket in the second half and finished with 17 as Pequot Lakes scored only 10 points in the second half.
Annandale got 16 points from 6-7 forward Brady Spaulding and a double-double from 6-6 forward Robert Olson, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Dolan said the Cardinals’ strength has been their confidence, which has hasn’t wavered all season.
“Confidence isn’t something we lack,” Dolan said of his team, which ran its winning streak to 27. “Because of the streak, they have this monstrous target on their backs. But these kids just stay focused.”