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Lady Lakers fall to No. 3 Hawley 47-40

Laker senior Ashlyn Jasken (3) battles for a rebound with a Hawley defender Thursday night. (Brian Basham/Record)

Despite playing a hard-fought, clean game, the Detroit Lakes Lakers fell short 47-40 to the Hawley Nuggets Thursday night in Ralph Anderson Gym. Hawley (23-0) showed why they're the third ranked team in class 2-A in the state -- playing good defense and slowing down the pace of the game when they need to.

"You have to play efficient basketball against a team like Hawley because you know they are," said Laker head coach Mike Hoganson. "You've got to take good care of the basketball and take advantage of the opportunities when they do come."

Those opportunities came in the first half for Detroit Lakes, as both teams played a slow, defensive paced game -- trading the lead several times.

"The kids played extremely hard, they stuck to the game plan," Hoganson said. "We had a good scouting report on Hawley and the kids really executed (the game plan) well in that first half. I was really happy the way they scrapped and played defense."

Sophomore guard Kayli Muckenhirn dropped a three-pointer with just over a minute left in the first half to give the Lakers a 19-17 lead. Hawley tied the game on their next possession, and as the Lakers brought the ball up court for the last possession of the half, Hawley guard Laure Olson picked Courtney Hedstrom's pocket and put in an easy layup to give the Nuggets a 21-19 lead at halftime.

Hawley came out firing in the second half going on a 9-2 run in just over the first minute of play and extending their lead to 39-25 with an 18-6 run in the first 10 minutes of the half.

The Lakers weren't quite done, as they chipped away at the Nugget lead in the remaining six minutes of the game.

Muckenhirn hit both ends of a one-and-one, as the Lakers went into the bonus with 1:29 left, and Hedstrom hit a big trey, bringing the game within five points with just under a minute to go. Hawley senior center Amy Stoa missed both free throws after being fouled on the Nuggets' next possession.

But the Lakers couldn't cut the lead further, as a three-point attempt rattled off the rim, and DL was forced to foul Hawley's Jessy Noreen to put the Nuggets in the bonus. Noreen made both -- two of her game-leading 20 points.

The Lakers promptly went down and scored on a Jenny Matter inside shot, but it was too little, too late.

"They're an undefeated team for a reason," Hoganson said. "They're not going to beat themselves, ever -- you have to beat them. And that's the type of philosophy that's going to win a lot of games, and I think Hawley is going to be a very dangerous team at tournament time because of that philosophy. That's something we can learn from with our young team."

The Lakers were led in scoring by Muckenhirn with 15 points. Courtney Gray and Matter each put in eight of her own.

Despite losing the game, Hoganson saw his young team perform much better on the court going into Section tournament play.

"(The Lakers) took care of the ball much better, they played stronger and that's progress, and it's good to see," he said.

Laker results

Hawley at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Feb. 25.

Lakers 19 21 - 40

Nuggets 21 26 - 47

Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Ashlyn Jasken 0-0-1-2-1; Courtney Gray 4-0-0-0-8; Courtney Hedstrom 0-2-0-0-6; Jenny Matter 4-0-0-0-8; Kayli Muckenhirn 5-1-2-2-15; Rachel Shane 1-0-0-0-2;-40.

Haw: Jessy Noreen 6-2-2-2-20; Laure Olson 2-0-0-0-4; Erica Amann 3-0-0-0-6; Allie Sannes 4-0-2-2-10; Amy Stoa 3-0-1-6-7-47.