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Girls Basketball: Lakers defend home holiday turf

Laker forward Shay Nielsen (23) is hacked by Sartell’s Abigail Gessell Friday evening in the first round of the Laker Holiday Tournament. Nielsen led the way for DL with 27 points in the Laker 63-44 victory. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham1 / 2
DL head coach Mike Hoganson goes over a play during a timeout in Friday’s Holiday Tournament game against Sartell. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham2 / 2

The year 2013 ended on a spectacular note for the Detroit Lakes girls’ basketball team, after the Lakers dominated their first home holiday tournament Friday and Saturday inside Ralph Anderson Gym.

The Lakers (4-3) played stingy defense, along with some sharp shooting, to down Sartell Friday 63-44 and Hawley 51-24 in the title game Saturday.

It’s a good momentum boost for the 2014 portion of the season.

“You look at the pre-Christmas part of the season as one section of the season and the holiday tournament as a nice transition into the second part of the year,” said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. “We can definitely use this as a good momentum push into 2014.”

Strong defense paced the Lakers in both games, while a fast start Friday against the Sabres put the game in the bag early on.

A 13-2 start kept DL well ahead of Sartell through the entire game, as the inside-outside scheme worked to perfection.

The guard play hit some early perimeter shots, as junior Haily Jorgenson and junior point guard Kyley Foster each picked apart the Sabre defense.

Jorgenson’s back-to-back three’s put DL up 13-2, while Foster found her spots and knocked down her shots.

“We were hitting our open threes and the posts had some nice kick-outs,” said Foster, who had a second team-high 14 points. “Our game is inside-out and we had some good passing. Like Coach Hoganson says, ‘Good passing leads to good shooting.’”

When Sartell decided to start taking away the outside shot, the DL guards started going inside to their post players, as junior forward Shay Nielsen ate up the paint for 27 points, the majority coming in the second half.

Sophomore post Grace Swenson added eight points, while Jorgenson finished with 10 points.

“Kyley had a wonderful game, she was finding the open players and also knocked her shots down,” Hoganson said.

“Shay was the recipient of some good passing inside and our posts did a nice job crashing the boards.”

The hot hands relayed into Saturday’s title game against Hawley, but it was defense which dominated the night.

The Lakers held the Nuggets to just nine points in the first half to build a 16-9 advantage, then took over inside the lane in the second half to outpace the Nuggets (3-4) 35-15 for the 51-24 win.

“Our match zone was working well and we were talking,” Foster said of the defensive effort.

Hoganson said to be able to hold Hawley to under 30 points was quite the accomplishment.

“The kids really communicated well on defense,” he added.

“Hawley is a very patient and disciplined team. We were able to cut off their penetration gaps and that takes a lot of what they like to do away.”

Jorgenson was key from beyond the three point arc again, netting three of them for her nine points, while Nielsen finished with 12 points and senior center Brooke Olson had 10 points.

Sophomore guard Kyra Vagle came off the bench and scored nine points.

DL will host Bemidji Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Detroit Lakes Holiday Tournament, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 27-28

Sartell     17 27 - 44

Lakers     35 28 - 63              

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) - DL: Kyley Foster 3-2-2-2-14; Haily Jorgenson 1-2-2-2-10; Shay Nielsen 10-0-7-8-27; Grace Swenson 1-2-0-0-8; Brooke Olson 2-0-0-0-4. TOTALS: 17-6-11-12-63…Sartell: Abigail Gessell 1-0-0-0-2; Hailey Winter 0-1-0-0-3; Elli Johnson 3-0-0-0-6; Kathryn Hoppert 2-2-1-2-11; Kendra Raths 6-0-3-3-15; No. 32 0-0-3-4-3; Jessica Deters 1-0-0-3-2. TOTAL: 13-3-7-12-44.

Saturday: Championship

Hawley      9 15 – 24

Lakers      16 35 – 51

Scoring – DL: Foster 2-0-0-0-4; Jorgenson 0-3-0-0-9; Kyra Vagle 2-1-2-2-9; Nielsen 5-0-2-5-12; Trisa Hutchinson 2-1-0-0-7; Brooke Olson 4-0-2-2-10. TOTAL: 15-5-6-9-51

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