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Snagging his 500th board

laker Luke Morgan (23) nails a putback against D-G-F Thursday evening.1 / 3
D-G-F's Tyler Schumann (23) fouls Laker junior guard Kirk McLeod Thursday inside Ralph Anderson Gym.2 / 3
Brian Labat (20) hauls in rebound No. 500 Thursday inside Ralph Anderson Gym against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.3 / 3

The only thing the Detroit Lakes boys' basketball was lacking Thursday night against the visiting Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels was a finishing move.

The Lakers were able to build a commanding 16-point lead early in the second half, but allowed the Rebels to jump back into the game after the resilient DGF squad pulled to within eight points by the 6:13 mark.

The two teams traded baskets for much of the latter half of the second, as the Lakers won 69-59.

"We just need to learn how to put teams away when we have them down," said senior post Brian Labat, who notched his 500th career rebound in the contest.

Labat and senior teammate guard Joe Mollberg went for 18 and 20 points, respectively.

Labat, who eclipsed Josh Stalberger as the DLHS all-time leading rebounder last Saturday in Perham, said there was a little friendly competition between Mollberg and him for the rebounding mark throughout the season.

"Joe and I have been keeping track since the start of the season to see who would reach 500 first," Labat said. "In each game, I just go out and be the big man in the middle. You need rebounds to score."

The senior post, who uses power and not height as his main tool to haul in the boards, plays an aggressive, physical style, said his head coach Robb Flint.

"He plays physical and he's such a hard worker in the weight room," Flint said. "Brian plays very physical and uses his explosion to leap up and grab the rebounds."

Another Laker senior, guard Rick Hutchinson, set the tone for his team by nailing four three pointers in the first half.

He went for back-to-back treys to put DL up 20-10 at the 12:20 mark in the first half, as the Lakers climbed on top at halftime 37-22.

But DL let up on the throttle a bit, as the Rebels' senior guard Tanner DuFault got hot, going for 26 points in the game, while sophomore guard Zach Nelson hit four three's in the second half alone to keep the visitors within striking distance.

The Rebels pulled to within 46-39 with 12:02 left in regulation, on junior guard Taylor Beyer's drive and one.

But junior point guard Kirk McLeod answered with a clutch three pointer to put DL back up by double digits at 49-39.

From there, the Lakers kept enough separation from the Rebels (3-16) by sinking their free throws, going 19-26.

Hutchinson finished with 14 points by the time he fouled out with 5:54 left in the game.

"We had a chance to pull away when we were up 16, but we got careless with the ball and stopped playing defense," Flint said. "The game really wasn't in jeopardy, but when you get someone down like that, you need to put them away."

The Lakers (13-5) will travel to Bemidji (11-8) Tuesday for an important game, where DL could garner some valuable section points.

Laker results

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Feb. 9.

Rebels 22 37 - 59

Lakers 37 32 - 69

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Kirk McLeod 1-1-4-6-9; Joe Mollberg 5-1-7-8-20; Rick Hutchinson 1-4-0-0-14; Brian Labat 6-0-6-10-18; Derek Long 1-0-2-2-4; Luke Morgan 2-0-0-0-4. TEAM: 16-6-19-26-69.

DGF: Z. Nelson 0-4-0-0-12; T. Dufault 9-1-5-6-26; J. Larson 1-1-2-4-7; I. Green 5-0-2-2-12; B. Stuhaug 1-0-0-0-2. TEAM: 16-6-9-12-59.

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