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Laker girls' basketball time peak play perfectly

Senior Morgan Lof led the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team in scoring (329 points) and rebounding (253). (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

Another legacy was created in what is becoming a very successful program by the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team.

After nearly missing a berth in the Class 3A state tournament last season on a last-second loss to Fergus Falls, the Laker 2009 senior class made amends by clinching the school's third trip to the state playoffs.

And they did it by timing their best play perfectly.

"By the end of the season, the girls were playing well and had three keys for their run through the playoffs, one, they defended the ball; two, they rebounded the ball and three, they took care of the ball," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson.

That trio of facets to DL's success was closely followed by the Laker's ability to create an inside offensive game.

"We ran different sets around midseason with some high-low looks," Hoganson said. "When we needed a basket, we ran our 'Connecticut' set which was based on our high-low looks."

It was a season of ups and downs, with the start definitely up with a 4-0 record.

Another four-game winning streak upped DL's record to 10-5, but an eight-game stretch towards the latter half of the schedule resulted in five losses.

The team discovered their inside game -- keyed by senior Morgan Lof and sophomore Taylor Tschider -- and started to limit their turnovers.

Although the Lakers lost their last five of seven games, the improvement didn't show through wins and losses.

"We may not have run off four or five wins in a row late in the season, but the girls were playing good basketball," Hoganson said. "We had a good win over Wadena-Deer Creek and played very well in the first half against Bemidji.

"That showed them how good they could be. We definitely were better than our record showed (16-11)."

With the senior guards Abby Hoganson and Dani Labine playing solid basketball, along with a strong inside game by the posts, it all came together in the playoffs.

Wins over Sartell and rival Fergus Falls in the semifinals gave DL a big push of momentum for the section title game, where they downed No. 1 seeded Little Falls 53-45.

The section title was an added accomplishment, after the Lakers also clinched the Mid-State Conference championship with an 8-2 mark.

Ball security was one of the biggest keys for the Laker's run to the Class 3A state playoffs, where they lost to Totino-Grace 51-38 in the quarterfinals.

"This team really took care of the ball," Hoganson said. "They had the fewest turnovers as a team that I've ever coached (322)."

Pounding the ball inside became the focus for the Lakers by midseason.

Lof's numbers show that with a team-leading 329 points, which included 129 field goals.

Tschider also started to prosper in the paint after she became a starter near the mid-point of the season. She finished with a third-team high 200 points, including 74 field goals.

That created space for the guards to shoot from the perimeter. Labine was the three-point specialist by shooting just over 31 percent from trey territory (41-132), while Abby Hoganson was the team's second-leading scorer with 253 points and 44 three pointers.

"We didn't see any zone because of our perimeter shooters in Abby, Dani and (senior) Robin Hutchinson," Mike Hoganson said. "We saw a lot more man-to-man defenses, so we were able to get into our high­­­-low sets."

Mostly, though, like any successful team, the Lakers were senior driven.

"We really fed off our seniors," the DL coach said. "It all started with Abby at point, she was able to set the tone. Morgan (Lof) was one of the best defensive rebounders (162) I've ever had, while Robin became an outside threat, as well as being able to mix it up inside.

"How many huge three pointers did Dani Labine make for us? She also hit those timely three's and Dana Bentley was a strong defender and always had hustle points."

Next season will be another challenge and for the first time in seven years, a Hoganson will not be running the offense at point guard.

"It's a changing of the guard, for sure," Mike Hoganson said. "But it will be a fresh start and new opportunities for our younger players."

Laker results

Detroit Lakes girls' basketball 2008-09 season stats: Record -- 16-11.

Section 8-3A champions

Mid-State Conference champions - 8-2

Laker stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts): Morgan Lof 129-0-71-100-329; Abby Hoganson 39-44-43-60-253; Taylor Tschider 74-0-52-79-200; Dani Labine 15-41-26-47-179; Robin Hutchinson 44-11-23-35-144; Jennifer Matter 52-0-19-29-123; Kayli Muckenhirn 21-2-2-5-50; Dana Bentley 10-6-13-24-51; Hannah Halbakken 2-0-1-2-5; Rachael Shane 1-0-0-0-2; Jalen Even 2-0-0-0-4; Ashley Jasken 0-0-1-2-1. Total: 397-118-254-391-1402.

Laker miscellaneous stats (reb-stl-ast-blk): Lof 253-63-62-10; Hoganson 83-38-108-1; Tschider 141-41-34-2; Labine 43-26-22-1; Hutchinson 73-21-21-8; Matter 71-12-9-2; Muckenhirn 26-13-16-3; Bentley 30-16-15-1; Halbakken 1-1-0-0; Shane 0-0-1-0; Even 5-0-0-1; Jasken 0-2-1-0; Branden 0-1-0-0. Totals: 748-251-302-29.