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Perham rules second half in win over DL girls' basketball

DETROIT LAKES -- A tough defensive stance in the first half wasn't enough for the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team to stop the onslaught of the potent Perham Yellow Jackets Thursday night in Ralph Anderson Gym.

Perham widened a 20-17 halftime lead to 31-19 margin with an 11-2 run to start the second half, then was able to maintain at least an eight-point advantage on their way to a 56-42 victory.

The loss dampens the Laker's hopeful strong push through the final stretch of the season, as they fall to 12-9 and have lost their last four of five games.

"I am not faulting the effort of the girls, it's just they are not clicking on all cylinders, yet," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "When things start rolling, this team is very capable."

For Perham, they have been rolling all season, with the win over DL improving the Yellow Jacket's record to 22-1 overall.

Junior forward Elisa Moenkedick led the way for Perham with 18 points, including a short two-foot bank-in shot at the 8:54 mark in the first half to put her at 1,000 career points.

The strong forward established the Yellow Jacket's presence in the lane, with the majority of her 18 points coming either on put-back shots or high-percentage lay-ins.

"Moenkedick is a physical post player and is a good one," Hoganson said.

The Lakers were able to stay close throughout the first half thanks to a stringent defense and senior post Morgan Lof, who scored DL's 11 of its 17 points before halftime.

But Moenkedick didn't only boost Perham offensively, she was able to put a clamp on Lof's production in the second half, limiting the Laker forward to five points.

"Morgan was hitting those 15-16 foot shots in the first half, but Moenkedick was able to close in on her in the second half," Hoganson added.

Perham senior guard Tara Sailer -- who is also closing in on her 1,000th career point -- sunk three treys for her nine points, with two of them coming at key times.

Sailer drained a three at the 13:51 mark in the second half to cap the game-turning 11-2 run to put Perham up 31-19, then proceeded to hit another one at the 8:23 mark to quell a Laker rally to put the Jackets up 38-26.

"Perham's backcourt of Sailer and Steph Miller is one of the best in the area," the DL coach stated.

Miller had a solid game, finishing with 14 points, including going 5-5 at the free throw line.

"Perham was patient and worked the ball inside well and got some easier shots by Moenkedick," Hoganson said of the second-half turn around. "They didn't do anything different from the first half (where DL held them to 20 points), they just did it better in the second half."

Lof finished with 16 points to lead the Lakers, while senior guard Abby Hoganson registered eight, including DL's lone three pointer.

The Lakers have two games remaining and do have the inside track for the No. 3 seed for the upcoming Section 8-3A playoffs, which start Tuesday, March 3.

"We do need to do more with our inside game and start producing more easier buckets," Hoganson said on what he wants to see his team improve on before the playoffs.

The Lakers will close out the regular season with two road games at Bemidji (19-3) Tuesday and at Hawley (13-8) Thursday.

Laker results

Perham at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Feb. 19.

Yellow Jackets 20 36 - 56

Lakers 17 25 - 42

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

DL: Abby Hoganson 2-1-1-2-8; Dana Bentley 2-0-0-0-4; Morgan Lof 7-0-2-4-16; Jenny Matter 2-0-1-3-5; Taylor Tschider 1-0-3-6-5; Robin Hutchinson 1-0-0-1-2; Dani Labine 1-0-0-1-2. Team: 16-1-7-17-42.

Perh: Tara Sailer 0-3-0-0-9; Steph Miller 3-1-5-5-14; Katrina Moenkedick 2-0-1-2-5; Rachel Pfeffer 0-0-1-2-1; Elisa Moenkedick 6-0-6-10-18; Heather Schultz 4-0-1-2-9. Team: 15-4-13-21-56.