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Lakers need to fill big shoes

Detroit Lakes Boys Basketball Team: Row 1: Nolan Singer, Jack Lyngaas, Derek Long, Sam Champa, Karter Smith. Row 2: Kirk McLeod, Christian Hedstrom, Nick Groth, Austin Eiter, Ryan James Cihak

The Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team will have a slew of new contributors, after a historic state playoff run last year.

With three of the main core of players graduated, the Lakers will be looking to a young and inexperienced lineup to progress through the season.

"We are going to have plenty of players who will be thrown into the fire early," said DL head coach Robb Flint.

The Lakers will have a seasoned backcourt, though, with the return of seniors Kirk McLeod and Derek Long.

Both were main components in last year's state run, but each will be looked upon for much larger roles now that DL's all-time leading scorer, Joe Mollberg, all-time leading rebounder Brian Labat and long-range shooter Rick Hutchinson are gone.

"I see Derek being our leading scorer and Kirk basically having to play every position, because we don't have any big, powerful forwards," Flint said.

The lack of size will force the Lakers to crash the boards and have a body on all opponents.

"We want to get up and run, but first you need to rebound the ball," Flint said.

The Lakers will have two seniors who will be looked to contribute in guards Austin Eiter and Nick Groth. Junior Jackson Lyngaas, along with sophomores Ryan Cihak and Sam Champa, will also be counted on to help on the glass.

Other sophomores who will see action include guards Corbin Duncan, Christian Hedstrom and Nick Nordmark, along with junior Nolan Singer.

Senior Karter Smith also will be out for basketball for the first time.

"We will be forced to play our sophomores because we only have two juniors out," Flint said.

The Lakers will need to take on a scrappy look by working hard for rebounds and outworking their opponents.

"With our depth, I would like to run and hopefully wear out the other teams," Flint said. "But the beginning of the season there will be a transition, because many of these players are not used to the speed of the varsity level."

With Long expected to miss a couple of games due to sickness, several of the inexperienced players will be looked upon to jump into action feet first.

"We will be playing a lot of kids and it will be fun to see," Flint said. "One thing this team has, is a bunch of hard-working kids."

Fergus Falls is favored to win the Section 8-4A playoffs, as the Otters return all but one of their starters from the runner-up squad of 2011-12.

DL was picked to finish fifth in the preseason polls, with Little Falls and Sartell up in the top three.

Detroit Lakes 2012-13 boys basketball schedule:


4 Pelican Rapids

7 at Crosby-Ironton

14 Pequot Lakes

18 at Thief River Falls

20 at Alexandria

27-28 at Dassel-Cokato Tournament


3 at Fergus Falls

4 Park Rapids

10 Staples-Motley

17 Crosby-Ironton

22 at Pequot Lakes

24 at East Grand Forks

26 Little Falls


1 at Wadena-Deer Creek

2 Perham

5 at Park Rapids

7 at Dilworth-G-F

12 Thief River Falls

19 at Moorhead

21 Hawley

23 at Grand Rapids

26 Wadena-Deer Creek

28 at Staples-Motley


1 at Bemidji

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.