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DL Boys Basketball - Fast break once again keys victory for DL cagers

Kirk McLeod sinks a bucket Thursday against Staples-Motley. Brian Basham/Record1 / 2
Sam Champa (23) gets a put-back bucket for two points Thursday. Brian Basham/Record2 / 2

There was an unconventional spark lit under the Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team after the Lakers started off in sluggish fashion against visiting Staples-Motley Thursday night.

After falling behind early 4-0 due to bad communication and inept play, DL head coach Robb Flint had enough -- and he let his players know about it during a timeout.

"He got on us pretty good, he laid into us," said junior guard Jackson Lyngaas.

Most of the crowd could also hear Flint voice his displeasure during the timeout, but it was exactly what the Lakers needed to shake the sleep out of their play.

After the fiery timeout, the Lakers went on a 22-3 run, which was more than enough to record another Mid-State Conference victory by the score of 77-63.

"The guys came out flat and there wasn't any communication, they were not ready to play," Flint said. "I don't like doing that to the players and they don't like me doing it.

"But you have to do that sometimes to wake them up."

The Lakers are also starting to show some depth offensively, beyond their leading scorers, senior guards Kirk McLeod and Derek Long.

Against Staples-Motley (5-5), Jackson and sophomore guard Ryan Cihak each started dropping points, as the Cardinal defense was focused on McLeod and Long.

For the third game in a row, Lyngaas surpassed double digits with a career-high 20 points, while McLeod still got his in with a game-high 21 points.

Cihak also provided momentum with a pair of timely three-point shots, which stalled a couple of potential S-M runs.

"Jackson has stepped up the last three games and is going to the hoop with confidence and aggression," Flint said. "Ryan had his best varsity game, too."

It was the transition game which once again keyed the Lakers' victory, as they rose back to .500 at 5-5.

McLeod was the main source of points on the breakaway, after the Lakers recorded 18 steals and added 21 rebounds and found him in the open court.

"We don't have any 6-3 guys in the middle, so we need to run, that's our game," McLeod said.

"We were able to run the court and pass the ball well. We wore them out big time by the second half."

Long also had another solid game with 14 points, going 7-11 from the field, while McLeod was 7-12.

The Lakers' pressure defense held the Cardinals to minimal runs and forced them to the outside.

DL had the heavy advantage in making higher percentage shots, with 29 two-point field goals, while the Cardinals had to put up three's to try and climb back into the game.

They made seven treys, but only 14 two-pointers.

"We need that kind of pressure for our transition game," Flint said. "We need to rebound and create steals."

The Cardinals didn't get any closer than nine points, that coming near the 15-minute mark.

But S-M used most of its energy to cut the deficit to single digits, that didn't last long.

After Lyngaas laid in an easy layup on the fastbreak, McLeod put it back to 44-34 on the next possession, with Cihak draining a three to up the lead to 47-34 at the 12:36 mark.

That bucket drained the Cardinals, as the deficit grew and grew from there.

Having a third and fourth option has helped the Lakers to a 3-1 Mid-State record, which is tied for first with Crosby-Ironton.

"Jackson has stepped it up a lot," McLeod said. "The first few games, it was just Derek and me, but having that third option in Jackson is going to be important.

"We are starting to pick it up and gaining more confidence. Hopefully we can keep it going."

The Lakers will host Bemidji (0-11) Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Laker results

Staples-Motley at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Jan. 10.

Cardinals 23 40 - 63

Lakers 35 42 - 77

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Kirk McLeod 6-1-6-9-21; Jackson Lyngaas 9-0-2-2-20; Christian Hedstrom 1-0-0-0-2; Nick Nordmark 1-0-0-0-2; Derek Long 7-0-0-0-14; Ryan Cihak 1-2-1-3-9; Sam Champa 3-0-0-2-6; Austin Eiter 1-0-0-0-2. TOTAL: 29-3-9-16-77.

SM: Kyle Jansson 1-2-0-0-8; Andrew Nelson 1-1-1-2-6; Tyler Holub 1-0-1-2-3; Brian Huber 2-0-5-6-9; Adam Nurrnberger 1-1-0-0-5; Zach Schmitz 1-0-1-2-3; Jalen Busker 2-2-3-5-13; Colton Borders 1-1-3-4-8; Jordan Wick 4-0-0-2-8. TOTAL: 14-7-14-23-63.

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