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Detroit Lakes senior forward Kyle Muckenhirn (left) tries for a bucket earlier this season. Muckenhirn and his Laker teammates ended their 2008-09 season after losing to the Rocori Spartans on Thursday in the Section 8-3A playoffs. (Brian Basham/Tribune)

Systematic Trojans end Detroit Lakes' boys basketball season

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Patience and discipline were virtues for the Rocori Spartans, while it meant the end of the season for the Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team.

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The No. 6 Lakers couldn't overcome a systemic Trojan offense Thursday in the opening round of the Section 8-3A playoffs, losing 68-45.

"Rocori is a very balanced team, which runs a very patient and disciplined offense," said DL assistant coach Keith Eckhoff. "They ran an efficient flex offense, which led to some high percentage shooting.

"They were the most efficient team we've played all season."

Getting into a hole wasn't what the Lakers needed, and that was the case midway through the first half when Rocori took its first 10-point lead.

That fell right along with the Spartans' game plan, since they could patiently work the ball around the perimeter to wait for an opening in the lane, thus taking big chunks of time off the clock.

"The problem is when you get down against a team like Rocori, they can wear the time down on you," Eckhoff said.

The Lakers kept pulling back to within six to eight points, but a late Spartan run created a 13-point gap at halftime, 36-23.

Rocori concentrated its defensive efforts on stopping DL sophomore post Josh Stalberger, limiting the Lakers' leading scorer to 10 points, while forcing the majority of DL's shots to the perimeter.

Unfortunately, the Lakers' outside shooting wasn't as good as it needed to be, with guards Reed Oistad and Joe Mollberg limited to under 10 points at nine and eight points, respectively.

"We just couldn't get that big rally," Eckhoff said. "It was tough getting the ball inside against their zone, so they forced us to shoot from the perimeter.

"Their strategy was to not let Josh (Stalberger) beat them from the block."

The Spartans shot well from inside and outside, with five different players hitting three pointers.

Scott Willenbring and Zach Hinkemeyer each finished with 14 points, while Ben Rausch netted 11.

The Lakers finish the season 9-18, while Rocori (13-14) moved on to play No. 2 seeded Little Falls (16-11) in the Section 8-3A semifinals.

Laker results

Section 8-3A quarterfinals: (6) Detroit Lakes at (3) Rocori, Thursday, March 12.

Detroit Lakes 23 22 -- 45

Rocori 36 32 -- 68

DETROIT LAKES --Joe Mollberg 8, Reed Oistad 9, Josh Stalberger 10, Alex Guetter 4, Kyle Muckenhirn 12. Totals: FG 16, FT 7-9, PF 14.

ROCORI -- Anthony Burg 2, Scott Willenbring 14, Adam Backes 13, Zach Hinkemeyer 14, Brett Eisenschenk 7, Ben Rausch 11, Brent Lashinski 2, Mitch Wurm 2, Bryan Lashinski 3. Totals: FG 19 6 FT 12-15 PF 13.

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