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DeLaSalle ends Laker's historical run

Detroit Lakes, Minn., guard Kirk McLeod (3) battles inside for a loose ball with DeLaSalle's Tyler Moore (30) and Scott Luke (20) during the first half of the state class 3A quarterfinal game at Williams Arena in Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers1 / 3
Laker senior Rick Hutchinson (15) drives the baseline on DeLaSalle's Tyler Moore (30) during the class 3A state quarterfinal game in Williams Arena Wednesday afternoon. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers2 / 3
Rick Hutchinson takes a three-point shot during the first half of the class 3A state quarterfinal game in Williams Arena Wednesday afternoon. DeLaSalle beat the Lakers 65-46. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers3 / 3

MINNEAPOLIS - A relentless defense, a freshman guard and a 32.8 shooting percentage were big factors in the Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team's 65-46 loss in the Class 3A state quarterfinals to the No. 2 seeded DeLaSalle Islanders Wednesday inside the University of Minnesota's Williams Arena.

The Islanders (24-6) advanced to the state semifinals with their normal formula of applying suffocating defense, which in turn was backed up by their 55.6 shooting percentage for the game.

They also were led by their freshman guard Jarvis Johnson, who poured in 22 points on a 9-for-12 performance from the floor.

On the flipside, the Lakers (22-8) were able to handle DeLaSalle's defense early, but failed to sink their shots. They shot only 35.7 percent in the first half, while the Islanders posted a remarkable 60-percent shooting mark to build a commanding 36-22 halftime advantage.

"We were missing our shots and that kind of spread the gap a bit," said senior DL guard Joe Mollberg, who led the Lakers with 20 points. "DeLaSalle's defense is the best one we've seen this year and it's hard to get anything going with that kind of intensity in your face."

An 11-2 run midway through the first half showed the first cracks of DL's handling of the Islander's defense, as Johnson sparked DeLaSalle with a pair of three's and an acrobatic, behind the back layup to put his team up 31-20.

Laker head coach Robb Flint threw multiple defenses at DeLaSalle, which looked like it stymied them for a bit.

But the Islander guards started to control the perimeter with quick passes, which started to open the middle up for super 6-foot-6 sophomore Reid Travis under the basket.

"DL really switched up their defenses a lot to try and keep us off balance," said DeLaSalle head coach Dave Thorson. "I thought the first three minutes of the game, we were affected by some jitters.

"But after about the 14-minute mark, our guards were doing a great job reversing the ball and finding DL's weak point. Our perimeter players were disciplined and found the open players."

The Laker's defensive focus was to contain Travis, who averages well over 20 points per game and shooting guard Luke Scott. That allowed Johnson to find some space on the outside, in which he made DL pay by going 2-3 from three-point range and 9-12 from the field.

"We made sure to hold Travis and Scott in check and take our chances that Johnson wouldn't beat us," said DL head coach Robb Flint. "Johnson was the one who broke our backbone, he'll be a special player."

Johnson, who is only the third freshman to start for the storied DeLaSalle team, went toe-to-toe with Mollberg midway through the second half, as both players were knocking down shots from all over the floor.

Mollberg started finding some space and nailed a big three at the 9:59 mark of the second half, bringing DL to within seven points at 44-37.

But Johnson answered with a slashing move through the lane. After a DL miss, Travis made a pair of free throws to pull DeLaSalle back to a double-digit lead at 48-37.

Again, Mollberg hit a trey over the head of an Islander defender, but Johnson was there on the other side of the floor with a jumper of his own to keep DL back in check.

"They tried to stretch our defense, but I think our pressure wore them down," Thorson said. "We didn't give up many fastbreak points up to them."

Senior post Brian Labat had the tough task of keeping tabs on Travis and held him under his scoring average with 20 points.

DL's gas tank was finally emptied with under seven minutes remaining, as the Lakers were forced to go man-to-man to try and establish some momentum.

"When we went man, we just couldn't match up well with them," Flint said.

Add in the fact the Islanders had only five fouls called on them, that high-intense defense spent much of DL's energy, as the Lakers had 15 fouls.

"It felt closer than losing by 21 points," Mollberg said. "We battled the entire game. I am very proud of my teammates."

The Islanders will face the winner of Mankato East and No. 3 Grand Rapids at 2 p.m. Thursday inside the Target Center.

They will try and make it a sweep in basketball state championships, after the DeLaSalle girls' squad won the Class 3A title last weekend.

Thorson, who is a Fargo native and a frequent visitor to Detroit Lakes, appreciated the Lakers' season and the job Flint has done to help get them there.

DeLaSalle assistant coach Todd Anderson is also from Lake Park-Audubon.

"I think Robb is going to have to owe me a dinner at Fireside when I get through there again," Thorson joked. "That's my favorite place to eat."

Flint wasn't too inclined to follow through with Thorson's request after hearing about it.

"Hey, he beat us, I don't think I should have to owe him a dinner," Flint laughed. "But if he shows me how he teaches his players to play the defense the way they do, I may buy him one."

With all joking aside, the Lakers' accomplishment has inked these players' legacy for good in DLHS lore.

"This was just a great experience and a great way to reward our seniors for all their hard work," Flint said. "They were never negative and were all great team players."

Laker results

Class 3A state quarterfinals: Detroit Lakes vs. (2) DeLaSalle, Wednesday, March 21, in Williams Arena, University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Lakers 22 24 - 46

Islanders 36 29 - 65

Scoring -- DL: Mollberg, Joe 8-17 0-2 20; Hutchinson, Rick 4-12 0-0 10; McLeod, Kirk 4-7; 0-0 8; Lyngaas, Jackson 1-1 0-0 2; Long, Derek 1-10 0-0 2; Singer, Kyle 1-1 0-0 2; Labat, Brian 1-7 0-0 2; Groth, Nick 0-0 0-0 0; Singer, Nolan 0-1 0-0 0; Morgan, Luke 0-2 0-0 0; Baukol, Tyler 0-1 0-0 0; Hoganson, Jake 0-2 0-0 0; Marsh, Aaron 0-0 0-0 0; Eiter, Austin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-61 0-2 46.

DELASALLE -- Johnson, Jarvis 9-12 2-3 22; Travis, Reid 7-10 6-9 20; Scott, Luke 2-7 1-2 7; Barker, Ross 3-5 0-1 6; Shepherd, Trey 2-3 0-1 4; Moore, Tyler 1-4 0-0 3; Svanoe, Jacob 1-3 0-0 2; Anim, Sacar 0-1 1-2 1; Lawson, James 0-0 0-0 0;

Bonds, Jeffery 0-0 0-0 0; Crandall, Geno 0-0 0-0 0; Fitzgibbons, Shawn 0-0

0-0 0. Totals 25-45 10-18 65.

3-point goals--Detroit Lakes 6-22 (Mollberg, Joe 4-10; Hutchinson, Rick 2-7; Long, Derek 0-3; Baukol, Tyler 0-1; Hoganson, Jake 0-1), DeLaSalle 5-13 (Johnson, Jarvis 2-3; Scott, Luke 2-6; Moore, Tyler 1-3; Svanoe, Jacob 0-1).

Fouled out--Detroit Lakes-Labat, Brian, DeLaSalle-None. Rebounds--Detroit Lakes 33 (Labat, Brian 9), DeLaSalle 34 (Johnson, Jarvis 9).

Assists--Detroit Lakes 12 (Labat, Brian 4), DeLaSalle 18 (Moore, Tyler 9).

Total fouls--Detroit Lakes 15, DeLaSalle 5. Technical fouls--Detroit Lakes-None, DeLaSalle-None.

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