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DL routs EGF in section quarters

Brian Labat lays two points in Tuesday.1 / 2
laker guard Kirk Mcleod dives for a ball Tuesday against East Grand Forks.2 / 2

There was no danger of a letdown for the top-seeded Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team in the Section 8-3A quarterfinals, as they pummeled No. 4 East Grand Forks 75-50 Tuesday inside Ralph Anderson Gym.

The Lakers (20-7) had visions of St. Cloud (the site of the semifinals) dancing in their heads early on, as they smothered the Green Wave (13-14) with suffocating defense, which opened the floor to easy transition buckets.

With just over 10 minutes off the clock, the Lakers had already built a 22-2 lead.

"We started off the game knowing we needed to play good defense and have all five guys crashing the boards," said senior guard Rick Hutchinson, who set the pace for DL with four three-pointers in the first half.

"We started to go inside early, which opened up the perimeter for us."

The first half was thoroughly dominated by the Lakers, who didn't allow EGF to hit double digits until the 2:47 mark and already down 35-11.

"It started on defense, which resulted in some easy layups and when you start building a lead, it's easier to hit your jump shots," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "We wanted to be patient with our inside-outside game and not swing the ball around the perimeter and settle for bad shots.

"So we went inside."

That's where senior Brian Labat resided and paced the Lakers with some big shots and aggressive play, which led him to go 6-8 from the free throw line to key his 12 points.

The EGF defense was sucked in to defend the inside, which opened the perimeter, and the Lakers poured on even more pressure in the form of 12 three pointers.

Half of those three's were made by senior guard Joe Mollberg, who made sure the Lakers were not going to sit on their 44-16 halftime lead by sinking an early trey to open the second half and put DL up 47-17.

Mollberg scored a game-high 24 points.

Hutchinson's four three's also put EGF behind the eight ball in the first half, as he finished with 14 points.

"I was feeling good (shooting the three)," Hutchinson said.

"This was a good team effort. Brian (Labat) controlled the boards and we had a good transition game going."

Junior point guard Kirk McLeod also set the pace early with several open-court steals, which led to fast break points. He also had a huge effort offensively with 12 points.

"Kirk really stood out tonight, he heads our defense and he had one of his best games offensively," Flint said.

With the quarterfinals in their rear view mirror, the Lakers will now have to buckle down for the semifinals, which will be Saturday at 6 p.m. at St. Cloud State University, against the South's No. 2 seed, Alexandria (10-15).

One of Alexandria's 10 wins came against DL, by the score of 60-48 Dec. 20.

"We got down 18-4 early on and we can't allow that to happen," Flint said. "We have to defend their big kid in the middle and not settle for bad jump shots.

"But our kids are hungry and we need our intensity be high and be focused the first four minutes of the game. Tonight, we had that."

Alexandria was a 67-40 winner over Sauk Rapids Tuesday, while a big upset occurred in the bottom bracket, as No. 4 Sartell shocked No. 1 seeded Little Falls 71-63.

Sartell (11-16) will face No. 2 Fergus Falls (16-11) in the other semifinal game at SCSU, starting at approximately 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The finals will be Thursday, March 15 at Minnesota State University Moorhead, starting at 7 p.m.

Laker results

Section 8-3A quarterfinals: (4) East Grand Forks at (1) Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, March 6.

Green Wave 16 34 - 50

Lakers 44 31 - 75

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Kirk McLeod 4-1-1-5-12; Rick Hutchinson 1-4-0-0-14; Derek Long 1-1-0-0-5; Joe Mollberg 3-6-0-0-24; Brian Labat 3-0-6-8-12; Kyle Singer 3-0-0-2-6. TEAM: 15-12-7-15-75.

EGF: Michael Kinzler 0-0-5-6-5; Ryan Hammargren 0-1-0-0-3; Nick Erickson 0-1-0-0-3; Austin Holy 3-0-0-0-6; Chase Grabow 2-1-1-2-8; Jim Warmack 3-0-1-2-7; Grant Frydenlund 1-0-2-2-4; Seth Perkerewicz 2-0-2-3-6. TEAM: 11-3-11-15-50.

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