Turnovers pester Lakers in 2 losses
There have been two gears the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team hasn't hit yet, but they are close to hitting on all cylinders soon -- or so hopes head coach Mike Hoganson.
The Lakers have played two close games to open the season, but have lost both by a combined four-point margin.
Improvement is needed in the turnover and defensive departments, as each contributed in the two losses.
"We need to take better care of the ball, that's the top concern now," Hoganson said. "They are not forced turnovers, either, just carelessness with the ball. Defensively, we just need to communicate better. The girls need to slide their defense on the floor better and have better movement."
Two buzzer-beating three pointers ended both games, but with different results.
Saturday, it was a Morgan Mathison last-second trey, which shocked the Lakers in a 56-53 loss in the season opener.
In Tuesday's near miss, sophomore Kayli Muckenhirn drained a three with the clock hitting zero, but it was one point too late in a 63-62 defeat.
"When you score 62 points, that should be enough to usually win," Hoganson said. "We just need to play better defense."
Offense has not been a problem for the young Laker squad, which returns just two regular players with varsity time from last year's state-qualifying team -- which is Muckenhirn and Jen Matter.
DL shot 61-percent from the field against D-G-F Saturday, while Muckenhirn poured in a game-high 26 points Tuesday against Thief River Falls, along with Courtney Gray's 15 and Matter's 12.
"Muck has stepped it up," Hoganson said of his sophomore forward. "We were able to get some one-on-one mismatches with her and she was able to step out and make her shots."
But turnovers in both games hindered DL's offensive output.
The Lakers had 20 turnovers versus TRF and 22 against the Rebels.
"Everything is correctable with experience and hard work," Hoganson said of the turnovers and defensive breakdowns at times.
The Prowlers used some long-range shooting to stay in the game against the Lakers and eventually build a 54-44 lead at the 12:17 mark in the second half.
TRF had nine three pointers, with guard Ashley Boen netting four of them.
"Plain and simple, we were not rotating our defense, there's no excuses," Hoganson said of TRF's ability to shoot the open three's. "You have to give Thief River Falls credit, they knocked them down."
But the Lakers kept chipping away at the Prowler's lead, pulling to within four at 59-55 after a Matter steal in the open court and a Muckenhirn drive for two.
Matter recorded another steal two possessions later, as Muckenhirn finished the series with about a seven-foot jumper to put the score at 62-57.
Steals on the full-court press enabled the Prowlers to pad the lead, but a missed front-end free throw on a 1-and-1 opportunity cracked the door open for the Lakers, as Matter put in a banker to pull DL to within one possession at 62-59, with 34.5 left in regulation.
But Lacey Stennes made one of two free throws on TRF's next possession to put the Prowlers up by four, as they needed every point with Muckenhirn making her final three of the game.
Gray led the team with seven rebounds and Matter added six, while the two forwards each led the way in assists with three apiece.
The Lakers were the ones who built a commanding lead Saturday, as they pulled out a 20-9 edge on the Rebels in the first half.
But D-G-F went on a rally to slice that 11-point advantage to two by halftime, then outscored the Lakers 32-27 in the second half.
Muckenhirn led the team with 15 points, with Matter close in tow with 14.
DGF was led by Mathison with 22 points, including a trio of three pointers.
The Lakers (0-2) will open Mid-State Conference play at Staples-Motley Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Thief River Falls at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Prowlers 36 27 - 63
Lakers 32 30 - 62
Game stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Courtney Gray 6-0-3-5-15; Jenny Matter 5-0-2-3-12; Kayli Muckenhirn 9-2-2-3-26; Rachel Shane 3-0-0-0-6. Team: 23-2-7-11-62.
TRF: Brooke Holtman 6-0-0-1-12; Ashley Boen 1-4-0-0-14; Hailey Peterson 1-3-1-2-12; Lindsey Guzek 3-1-1-2-10; Lacey Stennes 4-1-2-5-13; Katie Rook 1-0-0-0-2. Team: 16-9-4-10-63.
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at Detroit Lakes Saturday, Nov. 29.
Rebels 24 32 - 56
Lakers 26 27 - 53
Game stats -- DL: Jalen Even 2-0-0-1-4; Courtney Hedstrom 0-1-0-1-3; Matter 4-0-7-9-15; Muckenhirn 6-0-3-7-15; Shane 1-0-0-3-2; McKenzie Gedrose 0-1-2-2-5. Team: 17-2-13-24-53.
DGF: Thompson 1-0-1-2-3; Brinkman 2-0-2-2-6; Casler 1-0-0-0-2; Matthew 2-0-1-2-5; Yliniemi 4-0-2-5-10; Fischer 1-0-0-0-2; Mathison 2-3-9-12-22; Stalberger 3-0-0-0-6. Team: 12-3-15-23-56.