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DL center Jen Matter puts up a shot during a home game this past season. Matter was the team's leading scorer with 322 points.

Lakers' inexperience hinders 2009-10 season

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Lakers' inexperience hinders 2009-10 season
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After losing a host of seniors who led the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team to a Section 8-3A championship in the 2008-09 season, this season was going to be a learn-as-you-go type of year.


That's the way it exactly went, too, as the Lakers were inconsistent during a 5-21 campaign, much resulting from the inexperience which populated DL's lineup.

But out of the dark clouds will come some rays of hope, as those young and green Lakers picked up much seasoning for the next several years.

"There just was a lot of experience gained this year by many of our players," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "Next year, they can draw from that experience and that alone should equate to more wins and bigger goals set."

One of the glaring stats which stand out due to inexperience, is the assist-to-turnover ratio.

As a team, that crucial ratio was 242-to-513, or a negative 271.

"The key was taking care of the ball," Hoganson said. "When we turned the ball over, we had troubles. We averaged just over 35 attempts per game and that's just not enough opportunities to score."

The Lakers did shoot well enough when they did have the opportunity with a 42 percent mark.

DL junior center Jen Matter led the way offensively with 322 points (12.4 points per game), while shooting 42.7 percent from the field.

She also shot 75.3 percent from the line with a 70-93 on the season.

"Jen had the ability to hit her 15-footers and was able to take off on the drive," Hoganson said. "Now, the next level will be making her teammates around her better. That means she will be able to take on the double team and find her teammates."

Matter was also second on the team in rebounding with 123, behind sophomore forward Courtney Gray, who had 137.

Sophomore guard Kayli Muckenhirn also had a breakout year in her first tour of duty as a varsity starter with 298 points (11.5 ppg), while sinking 27.66 percent of her three's.

"She will have to continue to work on her ball handling, but she really developed as a scorer from the wing," the DL coach commented on Muckenhirn. "She has a nice pull-up jumpshot and also has good rebounding abilities (third on the team with 108)."

Gray also was a scoring force inside with a nice turnaround shot, in which was almost impossible to stop when she was on.

The sophomore forward finished with 229 points (8.8 ppg), while adding a team-high 43 steals.

"Her turnaround shot was unblockable and we'll build on that," Hoganson added. "She was also one of our better defenders in the middle of our zone."

But turnovers hindered the Lakers' progress, which limited their opportunities and gave their opponents easier higher-percentage shots.

When DL could set up their half-court offense, they could score.

"They could execute their sets well in their half-court offense," Hoganson said.

Defensively, the Lakers were limited to playing zone, with the goal of playing more man-to-man one of the biggest this offseason.

"Better teams could exploit our teams eventually," Hoganson said. "I was happy with how we were able to play man-to-man against Fergus Falls (in the section playoffs), so we need to play more of that with a zone mix."

The Lakers will bring back a vast of experience next year, while losing four seniors -- Ashlyn Jasken, Jalen Even, Hannah Halbakken and Amalea Branden.

"We will miss our seniors' leadership, they all stayed positive through a tough season," Hoganson said.

Another addition next year will hopefully be a fully-healthy Taylor Tschider, who was limited to just seven games after returning from an ACL injury, just to tear it again later in the season.

"With her out, we had to change a few things," Hoganson said. "We'll be able to push things up the floor better with her in there next year."

Other players who gained some valuable experience included point guards junior Rachel Shane and sophomore Courtney Hedstrom.

"Both had to learn under fire and both had to learn the difference in speed on the varsity level," Hoganson said. "But both gained lots of experience and that will only help.

"Overall, if the girls have a good offseason, they will be back as contenders in the section."

Laker results

Detroit Lakes girls' basketball final 2009-10 stats:

Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- Jen Matter 126-0-70-93-322; Kayli Muckenhirn 89-26-42-63-298; Courtney Gray 93-0-43-64-229; Courtney Hedstrom 15-33-8-13-137; Taylor Tschider 13-0-10-16-36; Ashley Jasken 16-9-6-14-65; Rachael Shane 21-3-11-24-62; Trisa Hutchinson 1-0-0-0-2; Jalen Even 11-0-3-5-25; Hannah Halbakken 6-0-3-7-15; Makenzie Oistad 0-0-1-2-1; Mackenzie Gedrose 0-1-4-7-7; Amalea Branden 0-0-0-2-0. Team: 391-72-201-310-1199.

Miscellaneous stats (reb-steal-assist) -- Matter 123-22-19; Muckenhirn 108-37-37; Gray 137-43-36; Hedstrom 29-31-34; Tschider 27-5-8; Jasken 61-18-24; Shane 57-20-39; Hutchinson 1-0-0; Even 58-18-37; Halbakken 22-4-4; Gedrose 4-5-4; Branden 2-0-0; Karli Kerzman 1-0-0; Katie Grosz 1-0-0. Team: 631-20-3-242.

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