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Laker guard Reed Oistad goes up for a layup against Crookston. (Brian Basham/Record)

Stalberger busts out in second half to lead Detroit Lakes over Crookston

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It took a little time, along with some sharp perimeter shooting by the Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team, but it eventually happened for sophomore forward Josh Stalberger to warm up.

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When he finally did, the Lakers and he both got hot by the tune of 44 points in the second half to key a 73-52 rout of visiting Crookston Tuesday night.

"We just were able to hit a few shots from the outside to force Crookston out of their zone and play man-to-man," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "I felt we had several mismatches when they went man."

One of those mismatches favored Stalberger, who poured in 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half alone.

The Laker forward was able to play with his back to the basket on the post, but also used his dribbling ability to fly past would-be Pirate defenders for higher-percentage shots.

DL's shooting from the perimeter in the first half -- which helped build a 29-25 halftime lead -- also was a big factor to help create space for the Laker post players in the lane.

"Josh had some nice drives to the basket and also was able to post up and use his up and unders," Flint said. "That was set up because we were able to hit some three's early."

The game was close throughout the first half, with the biggest lead coming on senior Laker guard Reed Oistad's three to put his team up 20-14 midway through, with DL already netting four treys up to the 6:24 mark.

Freshman Joe Mollberg went on a mini-tear, as he drained two three's and added a transition lay-up in a four-minute span to help the Lakers control the scoreboard.

But Crookston had its shooting down from far out, as the Pirates kept downing three's, as well.

Crookston had nine three-pointers on the evening, with four coming in the first half.

But it was sophomore Connor Hedstrom's three from the top of the key with 10.05 seconds left in the first half, which widened a one-point lead into a 29-25 halftime advantage.

The Lakers extended that margin to an eight-point lead with a 10-2 run to start the second half, opening a 45-37 margin at the 11:18 mark.

Crookston tied the game on back-to-back three's by Jake Thompson and Ben Curran to tie the score at 35-35, but at that point, Stalberger started to take over the paint.

Some stringent defense and slashing moves through the lane by the Laker guards started to create space for the DL forwards.

Stalberger went for consecutive buckets to stretch DL's lead to 49-40 and a three pointer by Oistad gave the home team its first double-digit advantage at 52-42 with 9:03 left in regulation.

Stalberger added a three-point series after a rebound put-back and foul.

That was promptly followed by a Max Knoll to Stalberger connection on the Laker's next possession. Stalberger completed his four-consecutive baskets with two more dump in's to extend the lead to 61-45.

"We were trying to isolate Josh and Kyle (Muckenhirn) on the inside in the second half," Flint said. "Kyle may not have had a lot of points (three), but he did well on the boards. I also thought forward Zane Kotschevar had a good game."

Mollberg finished with 10 points, while Oistad had 12.

Curran had three treys to key his 20 points, while each of Josh Baldock and Thompson had 11 points.

The Lakers had 10 different scorers on the night.

Laker results

Crookston at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Pirates 25 27 - 52

Lakers 29 44 - 73

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts)

DL: Max Knoll 0-0-4-4-4; Joe Mollberg 2-2-0-0-10; Tyler Fode 1-1-1-2-6; Mike Beeson 2-0-1-2-5; Connor Hedstrom 0-1-0-0-3; Brady Johnson 0-0-2-2-2; Reed Oistad 3-2-0-0-12; Josh Stalberger 9-0-2-3-20; Zane Kotschevar 2-0-4-4-8; Kyle Muckenhirn 1-0-1-3-3. Team: 20-6-17-20-73.

Crk: Brandon Lyczewski 0-1-0-0-3; Ben Curran 4-3-0-0-20; Josh Baldock 1-1-6-10-11; Jake Thompson 1-3-0-0-11; Carter Denison 2-1-0-0-7; Chris Follette 1-0-1-1-3. Team: 9-9-7-11-52.

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