DL gives Grand Rapids a scare
A No. 5 Class 3A ranking wasn't an intimidating factor for the Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team, as they gave 19-2 Grand Rapids Thunderhawks all they could handle Saturday inside Ralph Anderson Gym.
Junior forward Josh Stalberger poured in a season-high 32 points to keep the Lakers at pace with the Thunderhawks the entire evening.
But Grand Rapids' 19-2 mark is no fallacy, as a well-balanced offensive attack was too much for DL to overcome in a 77-72 loss for the Lakers.
"We had a shaky start there at the start with their press, but we were able to settle and be very competitive against them," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "We were hitting our jump shots and Josh Stalberger was making everything."
DL shot a lofty 62-percent from the floor, while the Lakers welcomed back sophomore guard Joe Mollberg, who contributed 21 points in his second game back from a long lay-off due to an injury.
Stalberger completed his double-double with 10 rebounds.
But Grand Rapids scoring attack was spread out, both from inside the lane and the perimeter.
Senior guard Michael Johnson sunk four of his five three-pointers in the first half to help the Thunderhawks to a 39-31 halftime lead.
Backcourt mate senior Eric Stark also had a strong first half with 13 of his 19 points in the first half.
In all, Grand Rapids had four players scoring in double digits, with Johnson finishing with 18 points, junior guard Austin Pohlen with 18, Stark with 19 and Brian Akre finished with 10.
The Thunderhawks shot well from beyond the three-point arc by netting 11 of them total.
But throughout Grand Rapids' shooting-fest, the Lakers stayed right with them, even pulling to within two points a few times during the second half.
"But you have to give Grand Rapids credit, they hit their shots early and their three guards played well," Flint said.
The Lakers picked up a game in the Mid-State Conference standings with a 74-69 win in Wadena-Deer Creek Friday.
The first half was rather equal, as the Wolverines (9-12) hung around with offensive rebounding, in which they finished with 17 offensive rebounds in the game.
Sophomore guard Rick Hutchinson ignited the Lakers in the first half by draining three-consecutive treys. He finished with 11 points on the night.
DL (10-13) started to pull away from W-DC in the second half, behind the one-two punch of Stalberger and junior guard Connor McLeod.
Stalberger notched 15 of his 19 points in the second half, most from inside the paint, while McLeod scored all of his 10 points in the final half of play.
"We made sure to get Josh the ball down low," Flint said. "Rick also opened up the middle for us with three straight three pointers."
Senior post Alex Guetter contributed eight points in the win, while W-DC was led by Jordan Reed with 18 points and Ryan Nelson dumped in 15.
The Lakers finish out the regular season with two home games, as they host No. 10 in Class 2A Staples-Motley (17-4) Tuesday and Thief River Falls (12-9) Friday.
Grand Rapids at Detroit Lakes, Saturday, Feb. 20.
Thunderhawks 39 38 - 77
Lakers 31 41 - 72
Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) DL: Connor Hedstrom 0-1-1-2-4; Joe Mollberg 7-1-4-5-21; Tyler Fode 2-0-2-4-6; Connor McLeod 2-0-0-2-4; Rick Hutchinson 1-0-0-0-2; Brian Labat 0-0-2-4-2; Josh Stalberger 14-0-4-5-32; Alex Guetter 0-0-1-2-1. Team: 27-2-13-23-72.
GR: Johnson 0-5-3-4-18; Wilde 4-0-1-4-9; Pohlen 3-3-3-6-18; Stark 5-3-0-1-19; Rabbers 1-0-1-2-3; Akre 5-0-0-1-10. Team: 18-11-8-18-77.
Detroit Lakes at Wadena-Deer Creek, Friday, Feb. 19.
Lakers 40 34 - 74
Wolverines 35 34 - 69
DL: Hedstrom 3-0-1-2-7; Mollberg 2-0-0-0-4; Fode 2-0-5-10-9; McLeod 2-1-3-4-10; Hutchinson 1-3-0-0-11; Labat 2-0-2-5-6; Stalberger 9-0-1-2-19; Guetter 2-0-4-4-8. Team: 23-4-16-27-74.
WDC: Syverson 1-2-0-0-8; K. Tumberg 0-3-0-0-9; Nelson 5-1-2-2-15; Byman 0-0-2-2-2; C. Tumberg 2-0-0-0-4; Toedter 0-1-2-2-5; Reed 9-0-0-2-18; Kellogg 1-0-0-0-2; Kern 2-0-2-3-6. Team: 20-7-8-11-69.