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Lakers' season hit by injury bug, but gain experience

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The Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team could have used some of this St. Patrick's Day luck through the season, just in the form of having a healthy full team on the floor consistently.

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That wasn't the case for the 12-15 Laker team, which couldn't put out a consistent starting lineup, due to injuries.

"We had some bad luck and were banged up for most of the season," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "But we're not going to use that as an excuse, every team has those issues.

"Instead, we're looking at it that we got some valuable time for some other kids and that will help for next year."

The Lakers did gain some glimpses of their full potential after topping Pequot Lakes (17-11) 76-62 in the fourth game of the season.

It was a game where every facet of the Lakers' game was on cue.

"We had good control of that game against a very good Pequot Lakes team," Flint said.

The Lakers missed the services of sophomore guard Joe Mollberg for much of the season, after he played in 16 games, but producing 11.2 points per game.

"We are just hoping he's healthy, that's the important thing," Flint said. "But he's hungry to get back out there and doing the individual work outs already. We need him back because he's our best perimeter shooter we have."

DL was even without its leading scorer, junior post Josh Stalberger, who missed four games due to a hip injury.

But Stalberger established himself as one of the area's top players, after averaging 14.4 points per game (331 points), while hauling in 6.8 rebounds per game.

His improvement came in the physical aspect of the game down low, which enabled him to hit his closer higher-percentage shots -- resulting in an "astronomical" 62 shooting percentage.

"He will have to work on his perimeter shooting, but he became more physical and was absorbing more contact," Flint said. "If he can step out and hit some three's, he will be very versatile."

The Lakers were a little green in the backcourt, with junior point guard Connor Hedstrom quarterbacking the team.

He finished with 4.7 assists per game, while knocking down a second team-high 220 points, including a team-high 31 three pointers.

Junior Connor McLeod also stepped up his game in the backcourt with 202 points.

Sophomore Brian Labat also contributed in rebounding with 5.68 rpg and 7.8 ppg.

"Our backcourt just needs to be stronger with the ball and not be so loose with the ball," the DL coach said. "Rick Hutchinson also saw good minutes at guard, so we should be solid there next year."

The Lakers' defense was better, as well, holding teams to 59 points per game, while averaging 62.41 themselves.

The seniors on the team included Tyler Fode (7.52 ppg), Mark Labat and Alex Guetter (4.37 rpg).

"They are all good leaders on and off the court and they all worked extremely hard to make us a better team," Flint said.

Laker results

Detroit Lakes boys' basketball 2009-10 final stats -- Record: 12-15.

Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- Josh Stalberger 147-2-31-49-331; Joe Mollberg 42-22-29-34-179; Connor Hedstrom 37-31-53-74-220; Brian Labat 79-2-31-63-195; Tyler Fode 41-28-37-52-203; Connor McLeod 51-25-25-40-202; Alex Guetter 49-0-44-70-142; Rick Hutchinson 29-17-28-38-137; Mark Labat 11-0-12-18-34; Jon Gilson 8-0-3-12-19; Tanner Twigg 2-3-4-4-17; Jordan Manning 1-1-1-4-6. Team: 497-131-298-458-1685.

Miscellaneous stats (reb-steals-assists) -- Stalberger 156-31-58-Mollberg 71-8-25; Hedstrom 76-46-126; B. Labat 142-38-45; Fode 75-26-47; McLeod 50-25-40; Guetter 118-16-24; Hutchinson 85-29-48; M. Labat 21-7-6; Gilson 13-2-4; Twigg 9-4-5; Manning 9-3-1. Team: 825-235-429.

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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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