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DL boy cagers pick up big win

So what is the best way to answer a letdown after one of the biggest wins of the season?

Why you post your next most important win of the season, of course.

Coming off a disappointing defeat in Hawley last Thursday -- which was coming at the heels of a huge victory over Moorhead Tuesday -- the Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team reclaimed their winning ways by posting a 58-51 home triumph over visiting the Class 3A No. 3 ranked Grand Rapids (20-5) Saturday.

The Lakers (19-6) were able to contain the potent Thunderhawk offense, which features a pair of 6-8 players, while finding their stroke in the second half.

"We were not going to leave their 'bigs', with each of Joe Mollberg and Brian Labat doing a good job on both their 6-8 guys," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "We made their guards hit those tough shots from the outside."

The lower percentage shots did affect Grand Rapids in the way Flint wanted to. In other words, fewer points.

The Lakers held a two-point halftime edge 31-29, then outscored the Thunderhawks 27-22 in the second half. They outrebounded the bigger visiting team by a 35-28 margin, which also gave the Lakers the edge in ball possession.

"We just kept contact on their 'bigs' and both Brian and Joe stayed active on them in the lane," Flint added. "We made it hard for those guys to get any easy looks and they had a difficult time making their shots over us."

On the other side of the court, the Lakers were making their shots, as Mollberg sealed his place in DLHS history by sinking one of his three pointers to become the school's all-time boys' leading scorer, surpassing Adam Thielen.

Even though the Thunderhawks were concentrating on stopping Mollberg, the senior guard still poured in a team-high 21 points.

"This was a big win after our letdown against Hawley," Mollberg said. "Everyone did their thing to help win this game."

Guard Derek Long once again did his part, as the sharpshooter had 16 points, including four three pointers to help loosen up the middle for the Lakers.

"This has been my best shooting team since I've been here and kids line D-Long, Rick Hutchinson and Kirk McLeod have been important," Flint said.

Mollberg and Hutchinson each had eight rebounds, while Labat hauled in seven, as well.

The Lakers also held the edge at the free throw line, going 11-12, compared to the Hawks 4-6.

With DL's 49-46 victory over Wadena-Deer Creek Tuesday, the Lakers are in firm control of landing the No. 1 seed in the North half of the Section 8-3A playoffs.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.