Lakers hit a high, then a low
Neither the Law of Averages nor Murphy's Law were too kind during the latter half of the 2011-12 season for the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team.
After starting the front half of their schedule with an 8-2 record, the Lakers' wins dropped off significantly, as they went 5-11 the rest of the way through the season to finish with a 13-13 mark.
There were many different factors which went into the second-half slump, but the major one was a challenging schedule.
"Number one, we had a very tough schedule," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "There were not any easy games and I think that gradually wore on the players.
"Every night it seemed we would go down to the wire and early on, we were making the plays to win those games. But the second time around, the other teams were making those plays."
During DL's 8-2 start, the Lakers outscored their opponents by a 69.1 to 45.4 points per game margin.
But in their final 16 games, where they went 5-11 -- which included a six-game losing streak -- their scoring average plummeted to 54.4 ppg, while their opponents' remained relatively the same at 46.9.
Varying factors went into the Lakes' disparity of offensive points, including injuries. Senior guard Kayli Muckenhirn sprained her ankle, which limited her ability to explode to the basket, and the loss of senior post Courtney Gray for five games also hurt DL's inside presence. The Lakers' depth was hurt with the season-ending knee injury to junior Marissa Bridgeman as well.
"We also lost (junior) Karli Kerzman around the Christmas break and that left us one shooter short," Hoganson said. "We missed Courtney Gray and Kayli's ankle injury really limited her of what she could normally do."
But with a couple doors shut due to injury, a couple more opened for younger players to produce.
Players such as sophomore center Brooke Olson and freshman point guard Kyley Foster made the best of their playing time.
"Kyley gained some valuable minutes and Brooke also put in some positive minutes, which will only help us for next year," the DL coach said.
The Lakers still were more than competitive all season, with valuable leadership from their seniors in Muckenhirn, Makenzie Gedrose, Courtney Hedstrom and Gray.
Hedstrom finished her career as DL's all-time leading three-point scorer with 151 treys, eclipsing Hallie Hoganson's 123. She also holds the single-season three-point record with 74, topping Katrin Grinaker's 52.
Hedstrom also is the single-game record holder with eight, beating Grinaker's six.
"Courtney was our spark, when she was on, our team was on," Hoganson said. "She probably improved the most from her sophomore to her senior year as any player I've ever coached before."
Muckenhirn also finished as the seventh Laker girls' player to break the 1,000 career point barrier, finishing with 1,003.
Her versatility of being an inside-outside shooter was a strength throughout her DL career. She finished with a team-high 355 points this season.
"Scoring 1,000 points shows how consistent Kayli was for three-plus years here," Hoganson stated. "She also was a top two or three rebounder (120 boards), second in steals (53) and second in assists (48)."
Gray also was DL's main inside threat, but she also developed a solid outside shot. She finished as the team's third-leading scorer with 238 points.
"Courtney is very tough to guard inside, because she is so athletic and can shoot over the defender so well," Hoganson said.
Gedrose was DL's defensive specialist, but by the end of the season, also proved she had offensive game in her as well.
"Mackenzie was our defensive stopper, but down the stretch, her offense came around," the DL coach commented. "She had a great finish to her senior season."
The Lakers will have a different look next season, turning from an athletic transition running team, to a more physical, bigger game.
Posts such as sophomore Trisa Hutchinson, junior Megan Lindquist and freshman Shay Nielsen gained valuable minutes and experience, while Olson showed she can handle the varsity game.
The Lakers will be bringing in a new backcourt, but Kerzman and Bridgeman each will offer some experience.
Other players such as junior center Brooklyn Thompson and freshman Hailey Jorgenson also will give the Lakers good depth as they head into the 2012-13 season.
The 2011-12 season stats for the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team:
Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- Kayli Muckenhirn 88-32-83-114-355; Courtney Gray 86-5-51-79-238; Courtney Hedstrom 13-74-27-35-275; Karli Kerzman 14-23-14-24-111; Trisa Hutchinson 53-0-34-53-140; Shay Nielsen 41-0-43-65-125; Anya Butzer 2-0-0-0-4; Kyley Foster 7-0-8-14-22; Mackenzie Gedrose 15-13-9-18-78; Brooke Olson 9-0-7-9-25; Hailey Jorgenson 1-0-0-0-2; Amber Peterman 0-0-1-2-1; Megan Lindquist 7-1-1-4-18; Marissa Bridgeman 1-1-0-0-5; Brooklyn Thompson 0-0-3-3-3; Matty Tschider 0-0-1-2-1. TEAM: 337-149-282-419-1403.
Stats (rbd-steals-assist) -- Muckenhirn 120-53-48; Gray 125-27-28; Hedstrom 80-29-59; Kerzman 39-17-19; Hutchinson 161-25-44; Nielsen 112-17-15; Foster 5-9-2; Gedrose 67-26-21; Olson 21-2-3; Jorgenson 1-1-1; Lindquist 15-4-9; Marissa Bridgeman 2-1-1; Thompson 2-1-1; Tschider 2-1-0. TEAM: 752-213-251.