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Lumberjacks hit free throws to down Laker boys' basketball

The Bemidji Lumberjacks cashed in on 21-22 free throws as the decisive factor in a 66-52 victory over visiting Detroit Lakes Thursday evening.

The Lakers (6-7) could only counter with an 8-14 night at the charity stripe, while the Lumberjacks (8-4) were able to shutdown DL's inside game by limiting junior post and team leading scorer Josh Stalberger to just four points.

"We were getting the ball into the blocks to Josh, but Bemidji did a good job pushing him out," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "We also got into some foul trouble and they converted 21 of 22 free throws.

"That was a big slide for us right there."

Carey Woods was perfect from the line by going 12-12 to key his game-high 19 points.

DL's defense were able to do a good job on Bemidji's talented backcourt, but the Lumberjacks were able to spread out the scoring with each of Harley Kroening and Mitch Brown netting eight points and Ryan Rude nine.

The Lakers did have effective play from their backcourt with eight three-pointers coming off the hands of Connor Hedstrom (three), Connor McLeod (two) and Rick Hutchinson (two) -- as each finished with 11 points.

"We just didn't have a lot of success from the block because of their physical play," Flint said. "We also only had seven offensive rebounds, so I thought we could have hit the glass better."

Alex Guetter led the Lakers in rebounding with seven, while Hedstrom had four assists.

But the big difference in free throws hurt DL's chances.

"We need to drive the lane and create some contact to get to the line more, that's what Bemidji was able to do," Flint included.

The Lakers played at Park Rapids (0-12) Friday and will travel to Pequot Lakes (6-6) for the teams' second meeting of the season.

The Patriots lost to the Lakers 76-62 Dec. 15.

Laker results

Detroit Lakes at Bemidji, Thursday, Jan. 21.

Lakers 20 32 - 52

Lumberjacks 31 35 - 66

Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Connor Hedstrom 1-3-0-0-11; Tyler Fode 2-1-0-0-7; Connor McLeod 1-2-3-6-11; Rick Hutchinson 0-2-5-6-11; Brian Labat 2-0-0-2-4; Josh Stalberger 2-0-0-0-4; Alex Guetter 2-0-0-0-4. Team: 10-8-8-14-52.

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