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Laker sophomore Brian Labat (20) lays in two of his team-high 17 points Tuesday vs. Bemidji.

Turnovers hinder Lakers in loss

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The Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team gave up some easy points due to turnovers in a 72-63 home loss versus Bemidji Tuesday.

The Lumberjacks did their best impression of a bunch of savvy thieves, as they pick-pocketed the Lakers for the ball on more than a few occasions, resulting in open-floor layups to key a couple of big runs.

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"Bemidji did a good job converting on our mistakes," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "There was a stretch there in the second half for about eight minutes where we didn't play good ball, and you can't do that against teams like Bemidji."

The Lakers also couldn't connect on their three pointers, going 2-18 from beyond the arc, while the Lumberjacks netted five treys.

The backcourt of Czar and Carey Woods paced Bemidji with 18 and 15 points, respectively, while the Lumberjack 2-3 zone shut down DL's leading scorer Josh Stalberger in the second half, limiting the junior post to just four points in that time span.

Stalberger had good success in the first half with 10 points, as he finished with 14 in the game.

"We just had a hard time getting Josh the ball against their 2-3 zone in the second half," Flint said. "I don't know if we were not patient enough trying to get the ball inside and just pulling up and taking the (perimeter) shot."

DL sophomore guard Brian Labat was finding success slashing to the bucket, and also picking up points off of some offensive rebounds, with a team-high 17 points.

Labat also picked up several points off of DL's transition game, which was effective in the first half.

"Brian had a good game offensively," Flint said.

But the Lakers' turnover problems plagued them, keying Bemidji's rallies in each of the first and second halves.

"We were being soft with the ball," the DL coach added. "That's a concern with our ball security."

The Lakers started as the hotter team, taking a 15-6 lead after DL was able to get a fast break on the Lumberjacks, as well, while Stalberger was establishing an inside presence for DL.

But Bemidji quickly turned the tide with three consecutive open-court steals by junior Ryan Rude and Carey Woods, which gave the 'Jacks their first lead, 23-22 at the 7:25 mark.

DL fell behind 34-29, but a Tyler Fode field goal and a free throw by Labat trimmed it to a 36-32 halftime deficit.

The Lakers regained the lead at the 9:19 mark in the second half after a 17-12 run, capped with a Labat jumper for the 49-48 advantage.

The game went back and forth, but a three by Bemidji's Czar Woods put Bemidji back up 55-54 at 7:16, while a put back and foul by Rude upped the ante to 58-54.

Stalberger finally netted his first field goal of the half with just 5:44 remaining, as Bemidji started stripping the ball from the DL guards to start building a lead, which got up to 66-57 with under three minutes remaining.

It was too much for the Lakers to overcome, as Bemidji's guards were able to hit their shots from the outside to ride out the 72-63 win.

The Lakers (9-12) will travel to Wadena-Deer Creek (9-11) Friday, then will host Class 3A No. 5 ranked Grand Rapids (17-2) Saturday.

Flint said DL is securely set as the No. 5 seed in the Section, so far, while the team will get back sophomore Joe Mollberg soon. He was able to practice this week after missing the majority of the second half of the season.

Laker results

Bemidji at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Lumberjacks 36 36 - 72

Lakers 32 31 - 63

Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Connor Hedstrom 0-0-2-4-2; Tyler Fode 2-1-0-0-7; Connor McLeod 4-0-3-3-11; Rick Hutchinson 3-1-0-1-9; Brian Labat 8-0-1-2-17; Josh Stalberger 6-0-2-2-14; Alex Guetter 1-0-1-2-3. Team: 24-2-9-14-63.

Bem: Ryan Rude 8-0-6-7-22; Cody Rutledge 3-0-1-2-7; Mitch Brown 1-0-0-3-2; Czar Woods 5-2-2-2-18; Carey Woods 6-1-0-0-15; Dan Frost 1-2-0-0-8. Team: 24-5-9-14-72.

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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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