Detroit Lakes girls basketball suffers losses to Moorhead and Staples-Motley
After starting the season 3-0, the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team hit a pothole just before the holidays.
The Lakers' (3-2) pre-holiday slump is rooted in their offense, which averaged just 39.5 points in their last two games -- resulting in a 42-25 loss in Staples-Motley and a 68-54 defeat at home versus Moorhead.
"First, you have to give both teams we played credit, they played some tough man-to-man defense on us," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "But it's something we can learn from and we'll have to get better at handling that kind of pressure.
"Our girls need to keep trusting their offense, start getting some ball reversals, be patient and the shots will start to come."
Two different factors played a part in DL's slump -- cold shooting and match-up problems.
The latter came Thursday against the 3-1 Moorhead Spuds, which had a rather large advantage in size against the Lakers.
The Spuds' forward trio of Miki Stephenson (6-2), Kassie Hooten (6-0) and Kaitlyn Rogalla (6-0) combined for 54 of Moorhead's 68 points -- the vast majority of those coming in the lane.
Stephenson had 28 points, while Rogalla had 15 and Hooten 11.
"It was a tough match up for us because of their size," Hoganson said of the Spuds. "Our game plan was to try and limit their inside game, but those three finished well inside and cracked the offensive boards well."
The success of the inside game was apparent from the opening tip-off, as Rogalla was fed the ball inside for an easy bank-in for the game's first bucket.
The Spuds' guards kept feeding the ball in the paint, with Stephenson converting a shot and free throw for a three-point play, which was followed up by Rogalla's fourth point on an inside turnaround shot for the quick 7-0 Moorhead lead.
"They jumped on us right away and established their inside pressure," the DL coach commented.
One advantage the Lakers thought they had was their ability to transition well and run the floor.
But the Spuds were up to task on that, as well, as the Lakers struggled with turnovers in the first half, while the Spuds built a 17-9 advantage at the 11:32 mark.
The Lakers' usual sharp shooting from the perimeter was a bit off, and the defensive rebounding by the Spuds limited DL to one-and-out possessions.
The continued inside play by the Spuds elevated their margin to 31-19, which ironically came on one of two three's by Hillary Enns, with 3:58 left to halftime.
"I thought we could run the floor on them, but Moorhead has some good athletes and they ran the floor well," Hoganson said.
The majority of DL's 19 points in the first half came from the perimeter and free throws, as senior guard Abby Hoganson had a pair of field goals and was 4-4 from the charity stripe.
But Moorhead's big three sank a combined 12 field goals from within the paint in the first half -- led by Stephenson's 11 points -- for a 35-19 halftime lead.
The Lakers did make some effective adjustments for the second half, and made it more difficult on the Spuds inside the lane, but Stephenson still added 17 points during that span to seal the win.
A full-court press did give the Lakers a whisper of hope, as they were able to cut the deficit to 59-49 with 3:37 remaining in regulation on a Dani Labine three pointer.
But a Labine steal on the Spuds' next possession went for naught, as Stephenson added back-to-back buckets to simmer the potential rally.
"We tried to put more pressure on their perimeter players (to cause some turnovers), but their guards handled it well," Hoganson said.
"Moorhead didn't let our perimeter looks happen with some tough man-to-man defense."
Abby Hoganson quietly had a strong game, pouring in 20 points, with 12 of those points coming in the second half in the form of four treys.
Lof finished with 11 points, as well.
In Tuesday's 42-25 loss in Staples-Motley, the Lakers had the size advantage, but some cold shooting from inside the paint resulted in their first loss of the season.
"Our game plan was to go inside, but we didn't finish our shots," Mike Hoganson said.
"We had some nice opportunities inside, but the ball just didn't drop."
The Lakers were also affected by some untimely turnovers and were not aggressive enough pushing the inside game, which was evident in going just 5-10 from the free throw line.
DL had just three field goals and two three pointers to trail 27-14 at halftime, and followed that up with a nine-point second half.
DL's high scorer was Taylor Tschider with six points.
With the season very much young, Hoganson said plenty has been learned in the last two defeats.
"The Staples-Motley game took our kids a bit off guard for how aggressive (the Cardinals) played," he added.
"But with the veteran group we have here, I welcome the challenge of improving. It was a bit of a wake up call for the girls, one which can refocus them and maybe get them a bit more hungry for the rest of the season."
The plate starts getting filled with the Sartell Holiday Tournament, which starts Monday, Dec. 29.
The Lakers will open against the host Sabres at 7:30 p.m. Consolation and championship games will be played Tuesday, with the third-place tilt at 6 p.m. and the title contest at 7:30 p.m.
Moorhead at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Dec. 19.
Spuds 35 33 - 68
Lakers 19 35 - 54
DL: A. Hoganson 2-4-4-4-20; D. Bentley 0-0-3-4-3; M. Lof 4-0-3-4-11; J. Matter 2-0-0-0-4; T. Tschider 1-0-2-4-4; R. Hutchinson 2-0-1-1-5; D. Labine 1-1-2-2-7. Team: 12-5-15-19-54.
Mhd: H. Enns 1-2-0-1-8; A. Kassenborg 2-0-0-0-4; K. Steckler 0-0-2-2-2; K. Rogalla 6-0-3-5-5; K. Hooten 5-0-1-2-11; M. Stephenson 12-0-4-4-28. Team: 26-2-10-14-68.
Detroit Lakes at Staples-Motley, Tuesday, Dec. 16.
Lakers 14 11 - 25
Cardinals 27 15 - 42
DL: C. Bjerke 1-0-0-0-2; Hoganson 0-1-0-0-3; Lof 1-0-2-4-4; J. Matter 0-0-2-2-2; Tschider 3-0-0-0-6; Hutchinson 2-0-0-0-4; Labine 0-1-1-4-4. Team: 7-2-5-10-25.
SM: Pearson 3-1-3-5-12; Rice 1-0-0-0-2; C. Robinson 0-3-1-2-10; Willgohs 3-0-0-0-6; Simonson 2-0-0-0-4; Lisson 3-0-0-0-6; Smith 1-0-0-0-2. Team: 13-4-4-7-42.