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Girls basketball: DL uses inside game to down Spuds

Laker Jen Matter (23) fights for a rebound with Moorhead's Jensen Penas (40) in Thursday's game inside the Ralph Anderson Gym. Matter led all scorers with 21 points, most of them coming from inside the paint. (Photo by Brian Basham1 / 3
DL's Kayli Muckenhirn lines up for a shot Thursday inside the Ralph Anderson Gym. (Photo by Brian Basham)2 / 3
Laker senior Taylor Tschider goes up for a bucket Thursday against Moorhead. (Photo by Brian Basham)3 / 3

Every sport is a game of percentages and in Thursday's home contest against Moorhead, the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team won that game.

By owning the inside on both the defensive and offensive side of the court, the Lakers thrived on the high percentage shot, while forcing the Spuds to the perimeter for the lower percentage of attempts.

Despite Moorhead sinking nine three pointers, the Lakers owned the paint inside with their height advantage, easily sinking their five-footers to key a 67-53 victory.

"We knew we had the height on them and we had some good team passing, getting the ball inside to us," said senior post Jen Matter, who led all scorers with 21 points. "When they would double down on one of us, we could kick it back outside."

The Lakers made a living hitting the higher-percentage five to seven footers, resulting in 26 two-point field goals.

On the other side of the court, the Spuds couldn't work an inside game, instead opting for the longball, where they did sink nine treys to keep them in the game.

"They had a string of three's going there for awhile, but then we tightened up our man defense and got a handle on that," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "We just were effective inside on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball."

Matter's post partner, junior Courtney Gray also found success inside, finishing with a second-game high 16 points. The duo combined for 15 field goals -- the majority coming from within the paint.

"We have had a lot of girls scoring, we're not just looking for one player to do all the scoring," Matter said of DL's balanced offensive attack.

The Lakers started taking control of the game with a 17-9 run, turning a 16-13 margin into a 33-22 halftime edge.

The run was highlighted by DL's inside presence, as Matter accounted for five points during the rally and Gray four.

The Lakers added momentum on a free throw series, with Matter shooting. Her second free throw was off the mark after making the first, and Gray nabbed the rebound and put it back for two points to complete the three-point swing.

That happened again in the second half, when Gray went 1-2 at the charity stripe and Matter hauled in the rebound for the put back.

"We like to have those, it's pretty demoralizing for the opposing team," Hoganson said of the three-point plays.

The first DL series of the second half dictated how things would fall, as senior guard Taylor Tschider went in strong for a layup, which was followed by a Laker stop on Moorhead's possession and another up-close basket by Gray to up the lead to 37-22.

"We hit our key shots during that first-half run and it boosted our confidence heading into the second half," Matter said.

"(Point guard) Courtney Hedstrom was also pushing up the tempo for us and looked for her teammates," Hoganson added.

The Spuds did make a last attempt rally, when they made three consecutive three's by Alyse Engen and Kelli Tonn (who made two in a row) to cut into the lead 64-49 with 3:39 left in regulation.

But Tschider cut that streak off with two free throws to restore order in DL's game.

Junior guard Kayli Muckenhirn also hit for double digits with 12 points, while freshman Trisa Hutchinson -- who also gave the Lakers a strong presence in the lane -- added eight points.

Moorhead was led by Tonn's 12 points, while six different Spuds hit for three pointers.

The win pulls DL back to .500 at 3-3. The Lakers will not play in a Christmas Tournament this year, instead they will host Crosby-Ironton Thursday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

They will resume their schedule Tuesday, Jan. 4, when they host Park Rapids for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Laker results

Moorhead at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Dec. 16.

Spuds 22 31 - 53

Lakers 33 34 - 67

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Makenzie Gedrose 0-0-1-2-1; Courtney Gray 6-0-4-5-16; Taylor Tschider 2-0-2-3-6; Jen Matter 9-0-3-6-21; Kayli Muckenhirn 5-0-2-2-12; Trisa Hutchinson 4-0-0-0-8. TEAM: 26-0-12-18-67.

Mhd: Hailey Wixo 0-1-0-0-3; Kelli Tonn 2-2-2-2-12; Alyse Engen 0-1-0-0-3; Maggie Gulsvig 0-2-0-0-6; Alyssa Dreyer 5-0-0-0-0-10; Jensen Penas 2-0-0-0-4; Maddie Swanson 1-0-0-0-2; Melissa Groth 1-0-0-0-2. TEAM: 11-9-4-4-53.

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