Trio of DL teams have holiday tourneys
For most people, the holiday break at the end of December is a welcomed refresher, as they prepare for the upcoming New Year.
But for several area high school teams, it's an opportunity for team bonding and seeing different competition on the road.
The Detroit Lakes boys' and girls' basketball teams, as well as the boys' hockey team, will be venturing out of the area to play in their respective holiday tournaments.
"It's fun for the girls to get out of town and use it as a team bonding thing," said DL head girls' basketball coach Mike Hoganson, who's team will be playing in the two-day Sartell Tournament.
For the Laker boys' hockey team, they will be seeing some high-quality competition in the Duluth Denfeld Tournament, which should be a good primer and momentum booster heading into their 2013 portion of the season.
"There is some very tough competition in this tournament, which should only be good for us," said DL head coach Chris Denardo.
The Lakers are 4-3 on the season and have posted three straight wins heading into the Duluth Denfeld Tournament.
They have outscored their opponents 12-3 during that three-game winning streak.
Senior forward Austin Rusness leads the way with 13 points on the season, with five goals and eight assists.
Sophomore forward Jonathan Hallisey is off to a solid start with two goals and four assists, while sophomore forward Ryan DeConcini holds the team's only hat trick of the season.
Sophomore goalie MacKenzie Steele is also playing well in his second year of starting with an .863 save percentage, while saving 227 of 263 shots.
The Lakers' opening round opponent will be host Duluth Denfeld, which is ranked No. 18 in Class 1A with a record of 7-3.
The Hunters are coming off a big win over Hermantown, which is the first loss for them in two regular seasons.
They are led by Levi Talarico with eight goals and 12 assists and senior Alex Thompson with seven goals and 11 assists.
Denfeld also is optimistic after handing Hermantown its first regular-season loss in nearly two years, 5-4 on Thursday night.
The tournament opens Thursday night on the opening day of the Heritage Holiday Classic at Heritage Center. Lake Superior Conference rival Cloquet-Esko-Carlton also appears in the eight-team field, which concludes play Saturday.
"We started it a few years back and the teams that come up here absolutely enjoy playing in it," Hunters coach Kevin Smalley said in an article in the Duluth News Tribune. "When you put Cloquet and Bemidji and the Cities teams in it, you have some pretty good teams. It's a good fit for all these teams."
The Lakers girls' basketball team will head south to Sartell for the four-team tournament, which starts Thursday against East Grand Forks (1-5) at 3 p.m.
The Lakers are 3-6 heading into the tournament, after coming off a dominating 67-27 win over Mid-State Conference foe Park Rapids.
DL is starting to improve on their inside game with sophomore post Shay Nielsen, junior Broke Olson and junior Trisa Hutchinson putting up solid rebounding and scoring numbers.
The guard play has been good with point guard Kyley Foster and Karli Kerzman shooting well from the perimeter.
The other matchup will be between Hawley (2-3) and host Sartell (5-4).
The boys' basketball team will play in the Dassel-Cokato Tournament, which is also a four-team format.
The Lakers are 2-3 on the season and are coming off a 58-52 loss to Alexandria.
They will open against a tough St. Francis team Thursday at 7 p.m. St. Francis is 7-0 on the season and have won all their games by a 13 or more points.
The other bracket features Zimmerman (2-3) against host Dassel-Cokato (0-5).
The Lakers Nordic skiing team will also be in action over the holidays, with a meet in Brainerd Friday at 10 a.m.
The Frazee girls' basketball team will play in the eight-team 10th Annual Wolfpack Invitational in Walker/Hackensack-Akeley.
The Lady Hornets are off to a hot 5-1 start and will open against host W/H-A (2-6) Thursday at 7:45 p.m.
In the bottom bracket along with Frazee, will be Wadena-Deer Creek (5-3) against Cass Lake-Bena (0-5). The upper bracket pits Parkers Prairie (7-0) against Red Lake Falls (6-1) and Pequot Lakes (6-2) against Sebeka (5-1).