Bettcher leads DL to regular season finale victory
Detroit Lakes locked up a likely sixth seed in the upcoming playoffs and split the season series with Section 8AAA opponents Bemidji after defeating the Lumberjacks 69-66 in a game of scoring runs Thursday night at Ralph Anderson Gymnasium.
Both teams battled to the final horn, much like last season when the Jacks escaped DL on a Caleb Carlson buzzer beater.
“A thought came in with about 20 seconds left and I remembered what happened last year,” DL junior Jake Bettcher said. “I just didn’t want that to happen again.”
Jace Peterson scored Bemidji’s final basket with 23-seconds remaining to make the game a one-possession contest with the Lakers in front 69-66.
DL got up the floor quickly but Silas Hess picked Bettcher’s pocket from his blind side to give Bemidji a chance to tie with 16 seconds left.
Out of a timeout, the Jacks had trouble getting a man open and Peterson threw the ball away.
DL needed to secure the ball for the final seven seconds to win, but the Jacks found a way to nab the inbounds pass only to miss at the hoop. DL’s Tanner Doppler pulled down the rebound and ran out the clock.
The Lakers lost by 18 points at Bemidji in December and Thursday night’s win is indicative of the progress this team has made down the stretch under first-year head coach Markus Okeson.
“It is kind of coming together,” Bettcher said. “Our young guys are getting more experience and they know what to do. Everyone just came together to get the wins.”
The Lakers finished the season winners of 13 of the final 16 games after starting 2-8. Both the junior and senior classes have played through a different head coach the last three years and the past two seasons have been somewhat similar.
“It’s kind of the same,” said Bettcher. “We have different guys but we have a ton of people who can just go out and make sure it gets done.”
Bemidji led much of the first half by small margins. The score tied at 10 and 22, but the Lakers waited until the final minute to take over with back-to-back three-point baskets from Bettcher and Doppler to go to the break up 34-33.
The Lakers opened the second half on a 7-0 run to go up eight points three minutes in at 41-33.
Jackson Haire pushed the lead to nine points, 49-40, but Bemidji responded with an 11-0 run to go up two, 51-49, at the 10-minute mark.
The Lakers pushed back with a 10-2 scoring run. Bettcher scored the first six on a basket-and-one and a three-point shot. Doppler followed up with two straight field goals.
Leading 61-53, the Lakers did not allow Bemidji (17-8) to get closer than three points for the final six minutes of play.
DL played without Logan Pratt the final three minutes after he fouled out with 12 points. Doppler scored 13. Bettcher led all scorers with a solid night and 31 points. He played with a lot of confidence and the Lakers feel like they are going into the playoffs far more dangerous than the normal perception of a six-seed.
“I don’t know if we played our best tonight on offense, so I feel like if we go out and play a good game we can scare some teams,” Bettcher said.
DL improved to 15-11 overall and won a section game for the second time in eight tries.
The Lakers will likely play either Alexandria or Bemidji on the road in the section opener Tuesday, March 6. QRF bracket seeding will be completed Saturday, March 3.
BE 33 33 - 66
DL 34 35 - 69
B-Jace Peterson 10, Kade Peterson 9, Ryan Bieberdorf 10, Silas Hess 4, Linaes Whiting 7, Cobb Hubbard 3, Spencer Konecne 16, Colten Jensen 7.
D-Jake Bettcher 31, Tanner Doppler 13, Logan Pratt 12, Jake Kerzman 6, Gabe Hanninen 2, Jackson Haire 2, Tate Kerzman 1.