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Otters clamp down on Lakers in playoff opener

It was the depth of the Fergus Falls bench which unfolded the Detroit Lakes boys’ basketball team’s plans of upsetting the top-seeded Otters Wednesday in the first round of the Section 8-3A playoffs.

The Lakers were able to keep close tabs on the Otter’s top two leading scorers in post Mike Millard (13 points) and guard Austin Rund (eight points), but reserves Joe Gaworski and Drew Pearson helped offset that with 13 and 14 points, respectively.

“We went into the game making their reserves beat us and they did that,” said DL head coach Robb Flint. “I thought we did a good job holding down Millard and Rund, it was just that their bench stepped up.”

Pearson drilled four three-pointers in the second half, while Gaworski picked up eight rebounds, which led to put-backs to key his 13 points, five coming by the free throw.

“Gaworski hurt us by positioning himself well and getting the rebounds,” Flint said. “He certainly hurt us.”

Laker senior guard Kirk McLeod helped DL build a 16-15 lead midway through the first half by scoring 12 points in the first half.

But DL wasn’t able to capitalize on their early lead, as Fergus Falls bolted out to a 40-27 halftime lead.

The Otters also stifled McLeod to four points in the second half, as Fergus Falls kept any rally at bay.

“We didn’t get to the free throw line with aggressive play, but instead settled for three-pointers,” Flint said.

The Lakers were 8-22 from three-point territory, with three of them going to sophomore guard Ryan Cihak, who finished with nine points.

Senior guard Derek Long dumped in 10 points.

“I am proud of this group for finishing 14-13 and above .500,” Flint said. “They came a long ways from their first game of the season.”

Laker results

Section 8-3A playoffs: (4) Detroit Lakes at (1) Fergus Falls, Wednesday, March 6.

Lakers     27 27 - 54

Otters      40 37 - 77

Scoring – DL: Kirk McLeod 16, Derek Long 10, Ryan Cihak 9, Christian Hedstrom 6, Jackson Lyngaas 5, Sam Champa 3, Trey Lyngaas 2, Austin Eiter 2, Karter Smith 1. TOTALS (2-3-ftm-fta) 15-8-16-21. 

FF: Jackson McAllister 15, Drew Pearson 14, Joe Gaworski 13, Mike Millard 13, Reece Johnson 9, Austin Rund 8, Drew Reinertson 3, Brady Hansen 2. TOTALS: 27-8-15-26.

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