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Lakers win thriller over Cardinals

Alexandria's junior phenom Angela Christianson had a hot hand Tuesday inside Ralph Anderson Gym.

There was no doubting that, after Christianson scored 22 points in the first half between the undefeated Detroit Lakes and Cardinals girls' basketball teams and finishing with a game high 35.

But the Lakers learned from Christianson's first-half scoring barrage and let loose two of their hot-handed players, as DL overcame the Cardinals with a thrilling 65-62 victory to improve to 4-0 on the season.

"We just didn't realize we needed to play her up all the time with a hand in her face," said DL senior guard Abby Hoganson about Christianson's play. "We did that in the second half, it was a team effort."

Although Christianson found the basket from both the perimeter and inside the lane, the Lakers started to wear down the Cardinals and limited their leading scorer to just five points in the last 12:55 of the second half.

"The girls started doing a better job making (Christianson) work for her shots in the second half," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson.

Not only did they counter Christianson with defense, they did it with their own potent scorers.

After Alexandria (4-1) bolted out to a 22-13 lead at the 6:53 mark in the first half, Abby Hoganson ignited a rally which would be felt for the rest of the game.

She capped her strong first-half performance with the eventual go-ahead basket from the elbow of the free throw line to pull the Lakers ahead 63-62 with under a minute to go in the game

The senior guard went on a scoring rally of her own, draining four three points and a field in the final 5:41 of the first half for 14 of her team-high 21 points to give DL a 32-30 halftime lead.

"It just happened to be Abby tonight to step it up," Mike Hoganson said. "The last game it was Robin Hutchinson, the one before that it was Dani Labine. Tonight it was Abby stepping up in that 4-5 minute stretch."

Senior post Morgan Lof was able to take advantage of Hoganson's ability to attack the perimeter, as the Cardinal defense loosened up in the middle.

Lof scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half, including a pair of game-clinching free throws with 8.2 seconds left in regulation.

"We are better conditioned than they are so we kind of wore them down and that loosened up the middle," Lof said. "The passing was good, too, (the guards) can see the floor pretty well."

Lof and Abby Hoganson connected for the crucial go-ahead basket, with Lof setting the screen on Hoganson's defender to open her up near the free throw line.

The game was literally back and forth the entire affair, as DL built a 59-50 lead on a Dani Labine three pointer with 4:14 remaining.

Alexandria chipped its way back, with senior forward Ally Teclaw picking up several crucial buckets.

A three-point series was had by junior guard Gracie Bruzek, after she nabbed an open-court steal and converted her layup along with the foul to pull the Cards to within 61-60.

Bruzek recorded another huge steal on DL's next possession, which set up Teclaw's go-ahead basket to lift Alexandria to a 62-61 advantage, before Hoganson's jumper to give DL the lead back.

"It was a team victory," Abby Hoganson added.

Teclaw finished with 14 points, while the Lakers had eight three pointers on the night to help key the win.

"Each of Dani Labine and Chelsea Bjerke had big three pointers," Mike Hoganson said. "Our three-point shooting is helped because the girls pass the ball so well and sometimes they kick it back out from the inside back to the outside.

"We also learned we can use a match-up zone against a player like Christianson and can adjust like the girls were able to against her."

The Lakers will try and extend their undefeated record when they travel to Fergus Falls Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. start.

DL downs C-I

The Lakers opened their Mid-State Conference schedule with a road-win over Crosby-Ironton 61-42 Saturday.

Defense was strong and the Lakers inside duo of Robin Hutchinson and Taylor Tschider keyed the offense with 19 and 15 points, respectively.

"The girls played tough, physical defense and we were able to take them out of their rhythm," Mike Hoganson said. "We had a size advantage and our perimeters really played smart and went inside to Hutchinson and Tschider."

The Lakers had control at halftime with a 34-25 lead, then limited the Rangers to 17 points in the second half.

Labine chipped in 12 points, all coming from beyond the three-point arc.

Laker results

Alexandria at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Dec. 9.

Cardinals 30 32 - 62

Lakers 32 33 - 65

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts)

DL: C. Bjerke 0-1-0-0-3; A. Hoganson 3-5-0-1-21; M. Lof 8-0-3-4-19; J. Matter 3-0-0-0-6; T. Tschider 1-0-0-0-2; R. Hutchinson 3-0-0-0-6; D. Labine 0-2-2-2-8. Team: 18-8-5-7-65.

SM: K. Gearman 2-0-2-2-6; A. Christianson 9-4-5-10-35; A. Montbriand 1-0-0-1-2; G. Bruzek 1-0-1-1-3; S. Trumm 1-0-0-1-2; A. Teclaw 6-0-2-2-14. Team: 20-4-10-17-62.

Detroit Lakes at Crosby-Ironton, Friday, Dec. 5.

Lakers 34 27 - 61

Rangers 25 17 - 42

Scoring -- DL: Bjerke 0-1-0-0-3; Hoganson 0-1-2-2-5; Lof 3-0-1-1-7; Tschider 6-0-3-3-15; Hutchinson 7-1-2-2-19; Labine 0-4-0-0-12. Team: 17-7-8-11-61.