DL girl cagers capture M-S title and No. 1 seed
By halftime of Saturday's regular season finale, the Mid-State Conference championship was in the bag for the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team.
With a 44-13 lead after the first half, the second half of play was academic for the Lakers, as they went on to pummel the visiting Pequot Lakes Patriots 85-39. DL wrapped up the conference title outright with a record of 9-1, and finishing the season with an overall mark of 21-3.
Next up is the defense of the team's Section 8-3A banner in the upcoming playoffs, where they hold the No. 1 seed in the North half. The Lakers will open the playoffs at home Thursday against No. 4 Thief River Falls, inside Ralph Anderson Gym.
DL finished the quest for its Mid-State championship by starting with a 9-2 lead against Pequot Lakes Saturday, and while the Lakers fell into a complacent stage, they finished the Patriots off with a 16-0 run leading up to halftime.
"The girls stepped it up defensively and rolled from there," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "They got their big lead, and maintained."
The game was senior's night, and the last-year players produced. Forward Jordanne Even led the way with 19 points, eliminating any doubts that an injured thumb on her shooting hand would be a concern come playoff time.
Senior Kally Wolf added a second-best 14 points.
"The kids are shooting the ball well and are doing some very good things leading into playoffs," Hoganson added.
There was a bit of a surprise in the South bracket, as Willmar was awarded the top seed and Fergus Falls received the second. That means if both DL and Fergus Falls are victorious Thursday, the two teams will meet Saturday in the semifinals at Minnesota State University in Moorhead for their third showdown of the year.
The Otters own two victories over the Lakers this year, and the third game has been anticipated by many since their second meeting Jan. 31.
It's just a little earlier than planned, since it was thought the two teams would meet in the Section championship.
"That's good if we can play Fergus Falls early, it won't give an entire week for the kids to think about them and keep getting asked if they can beat Fergus Falls or not," Hoganson said. "I feel the girls are playing their best basketball now. The only thing they can do now is play hard and see what happens."
In the North, Park Rapids gained the second seed and Perham the third. In the South, Little Falls was awarded the third seed and Rocori the fourth.
Game time Thursday in the quarterfinals against Thief River Falls is 7 p.m.
Pequot Lakes at Detroit Lakes, Saturday, Feb. 25.
Patriots 13 26 - 39
Lakers 44 41 - 85
Scoring -- DL: Macey Bentley 5, Jena Hanson 1, Abby Hoganson 5, Corey Lof 4, Morgan Lof 2, Alice Branden 3, Kally Wolf 14, Jordanne Even 19, Alexis Kotschevar 6, Betsy Hutchinson 12, Hallie Hoganson 10, Nichole Norby 4.
PL: Finn 2, Lenz 2, Soukup 18, Howard 4, Keys 4, Johnson 9.