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Laker Brooke Olson makes a play on the ball during a home game last week against Moorhead. The Lakers fell to Alexandria in the Section 8-3A playoffs Tuesday night.

Laker girls' basketball falls in overtime to Alexandria in Section 8-3A quarters

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Alexandria’s Karly Betterman had just two points at the end of regulation on Tuesday night, but they proved to be the two most important points of the game.

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Without them, the Alexandria girls’ basketball team would have seen its season end in heartbreak. Instead, the Cardinals will advance to the Section 8-3A semifinals against Fergus Falls on Saturday after Betterman’s rebound and putback at the buzzer forced overtime in a game Alexandria eventually won 51-46 against Detroit Lakes.

“I couldn’t even believe it,” Betterman said. “I didn’t want the game to be over. I didn’t want my season or career to be over. It was just crazy. I’m still in shock.”

The senior point guard wasn’t done after she forced the extra session. Betterman added five more points in overtime, including a driving layup that gave her team a 46-45 lead. The Cardinals never trailed again as Betterman and Amanda Christianson combined for five free throws to put the game away down the stretch.

The Lakers (20-7) struggled from the floor, converting just nine field goals, no three-pointers, with over half their points coming from the free throw line, where they went 28-35.

“Alexandria threw us a curve ball, by going a tough man-to-man defense, instead of their usual 1-3-1 zone,” said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. “We were able to get the ball inside, but their defense prevented the kick out to our perimeter shooters.”

DL’s leading scorer Shay Nielsen was held to just two field goals, but she did go 9-11 from the free throw line.

The second half was a roller coaster, with plenty of lead changes, which led up to Betterman’s put-back rebound to force overtime at 41-41.

The Cardinals’ ability to keep their composure during a wild second half was something head coach Wendy Kohler was most proud of with her team.

Alexandria led 20-12 at the break and by 12 points after junior center Brooke Heggie hit back-to-back buckets in the opening minute of the second half.

The Lakers slowly chipped away from there.

Near the eight-minute mark, they had cut their deficit to just one before taking their first lead on a bucket by Kyra Vagle that made it 34-33 with 3:35 left.

Vagle then made two free throws with less than a minute to play that gave her team a three-point advantage.

“I think our girls just stuck with the game plan,” Kohler said. “They didn’t panic when DL came back. They didn’t speed up.

“They just stuck with the game plan against that match-up zone and kept executing. That was huge. Had we panicked and started forcing things and going off doing our own thing, the game could have got away from us.”

The Lakers were up to the task defensively, holding Alexandria to 12 field goals, but they were able to sink four three-pointers, to boot.

“The girls were ready to roll defensively and they contested Alexandria’s shots well,” Hoganson said. “But give credit to Alex, they were patient with the ball and had some possessions one to two minutes long.”

The Cardinals were down two and had the ball after Detroit Lakes made one of two free throws with about 10 seconds left.

Freshman Kendall Kohler caught the ball at the top of the key on the final possession and released a three that just caught the front iron.

Betterman was there for the rebound as she put it up and in to tie things up at 41 apiece.

DL junior point guard Kyley Foster was dealing with an injured hand, but five fouls ultimately ended her night with under a minute left in the game.

“Kyley played through the pain, but losing her was a big loss in a tight game like that,” Hoganson added. We missed her leadership.”

The Cardinals had five players with at least seven points to help get the win.

Heggie finished with 14 while playing with four fouls over the final six-plus minutes of regulation and into overtime.

Laker senior post Brooke Olson and sophomore guard Vagle each stepped up late in the game, as well.

“In the last eight minutes, Brooke stepped up with some big rebounds, she played like she didn’t want the season to end,” Hoganson said. “Kyra came in off the bench and provided a big spark, too.”

The Lakers closed out the regular season with a 66-51 win over visiting Crosby-Ironton, which clinched a portion of the Mid-State Conference championship, along with Staples-Motley and Pequot Lakes.

DL started the game with four straight three pointers, started by junior Hailey Jorgenson and followed by three straight by senior Trisa Hutchinson.

Nielsen had 22 points, while Hutchinson added 17 and Jorgenson 12.

(Article written by Eric Morken of the Alexandria Echo Press and Brian Wierima of the Detroit Lakes Newspapers.)

Section 8-3A quarterfinals: (5) Detroit Lakes at (4) Alexandria, Tuesday, March 4.

Lakers 12 29 5 – 46

Cardinals 20 21 10 – 51

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) – DL: Kyley Foster 2-0-1-3-5; Hailey Jorgenson 0-0-5-5-5; Kyra Vagle 3-0-6-6-12; Shay Nielsen 2-0-9-11-13; Trisa Hutchinson 0-0-1-2-1; Brooke Olson 2-0-6-8-10. TOTALS: 9-0-28-35-46…Alex: Amanda Christianson 2-1-3-5-10; Macy Hatlestad 2-1-4-4-11; Kendall Kohler 0-2-1-2-7; Karly Betterman 2-0-3-7-7; Amanda Gould 1-0-0-0-2; Brooke Heggie 5-0-4-4-14. TOTALS: 12-4-15-22-51.

Crosby-Ironton at Detroit Lakes, Friday, Feb. 28.

Lakers 32 34 – 66

Rangers 29 22 – 51

Scoring – DL: Foster 4-0-1-2-9; Jorgenson 0-4-0-0-12; Vagle 1-0-0-0-2; Nielsen 9-0-4-7-22; Lauren Lies 0-1-0-0-3; Hutchinson 2-3-4-4-17; Olson 0-0-1-2-1. TOTALS: 7-8-6-8-66.

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