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DL Girls Basketball: Otters survive scare by Lakers

Kyley Foster drives to the bucket Saturday vs. Fergus Falls. Brian Basham/Tribune1 / 2
Laker post Brooke Olson (51) gets her shot off cleanly against Fergus Falls Saturday evening. Brian Basham/Tribune2 / 2

Down 18 points with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Detroit Lakes junior post Trisa Hutchinson was still pretty confident in the Laker's chances against undefeated and the Class 3A's No. 1 ranked Fergus Falls Otters.

"I was at the free throw line and I told (senior guard) Karli Kerzman we are coming back, she said 'Dang right!'" Hutchinson said.

That premonition by the two Lakers almost came true, as DL nearly pulled off an amazing comeback and upset Friday, but ultimately fell short 48-43 to the Otters.

But that fight to the last second attitude did install some confidence for the Lakers, who may see the top-ranked Otters (23-0) again in the near future during the Section 8-3A playoffs.

"I definitely think it was a confidence boost for our girls," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "We were right in that game and it wasn't even the best game we could have played."

It was the Lakers' stingy No. 4 state-ranked defense which kept them in the game.

After falling down 29-19 at halftime to the Otters, turnovers hindered DL's progress early in the second half.

The Lakers turned the ball over four out of their first five possessions, which led to a 41-23 deficit.

"We came out in the second half determined to do some things to get back into the game, but unfortunately we made some poor decisions," Hoganson said.

But that didn't deter Hutchinson and her teammates, as they employed a strong trap defense to counter a stalling offense Fergus Falls was running to eat the time off the clock.

The Lakers started chipping away by going on a 14-3 run, which included a big three-pointer by Kerzman at the 6:03 mark to pull DL within to single digits at 43-34.

The Lakers continued to play strong defense and with time winding down, an unlikely candidate nailed a three to pull the Lakers to within two at 45-43.

Hutchinson attempted her lone three of the game from the top of the key and drained it with 34 seconds left in regulation.

It was only her second three-pointer of the season.

"I knew the clock was winding down and I just pretended it was Pelican Rapids (where Hutchinson netted the game-winning buzzer beating shot) and knocked it down," Hutchinson said. But Otter all-star guard Bailey Strand knocked down 1-2 from the free throw line with 31.2 seconds left, but Fergus Falls' post Anna Monke came up with a crucial rebound on the second miss to retain possession.

That was key, because Strand made it back to the free throw line for a 1-and-1 opportunity, but sinking both for a two-possession lead at 48-43 with 18.7 seconds left, which ultimately was the final score.

The DL defense held the Otters well under their 69.5 point per game scoring average, though.

Strand led the way for the Otters with 19 points, while DL sophomore post Shay Nielsen head a team-high 12 points, including going 6-6 from the free throw line.

Hutchinson had 10 points and Kerzman three three-pointers for nine points.

"Even when we were down by 20 points, we were not going to give," Hutchinson said. "We play to the very last second."

Hoganson has seen the never-quit attitude by his team all season, as well.

"To our kids' credit, they showed lots of guts and resolve to come back," he said.

The Lakers (10-13) have a firm hold on the No. 3 seed in the North half of the Section 8-3A playoffs and will close out the regular season with a pair of Mid-State Conference games.

DL will be at Class 2A No. 6 Staples-Motley (18-5) Thursday and will host Wadena-Deer Creek.

Laker results

Fergus Falls at Detroit Lakes, Friday, Feb. 15.

Lakers 19 24 - 43

Otters 29 19 - 48

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) - DL: Kyley Foster 2-0-1-1-5; Hailey Jorgenson 1-0-0-0-2; Alyssa Austin 2-0-1-2-4; Shay Nielsen 3-0-6-6-12; Trisa Hutchinson 2-1-3-4-10; Karli Kerzman 0-3-0-0-9; Brooke Olson 0-0-1-2-1. TOTAL: 10-4-11-15-43.

FF: Devonie Smith 0-2-0-0-6; Kristin Traiser 0-0-4-6-4; Bailey Strand 5-1-6-9-19; Brianna Rasmussen 4-0-3-4-11; Hanna Swenson 3-0-0-0-6; Anna Monke 1-0-1-2-3. TOTAL: 13-3-14-21-48.

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