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Detroit Lakes dominates Little Falls behind standout afternoon from its depth players

The Lakers scored 65 points, 30 of which came from depth players, in a 50-point win over Little Falls to open the season on Saturday afternoon.

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Grace Gunderson works through contact to the rim in Detroit Lakes' 65-15 win over Little Falls at the Ralph Anderson Gym on Dec. 4, 2021. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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There wasn’t any doubt in who the better team was on Saturday in Detroit Lakes’ season-opening win over Little Falls.

The Lakers know better teams are on the horizon, but a 65-15 victory over a Section 8-3A opponent was a way to build confidence for a group that had a lot of firsts on Saturday afternoon.

“I think (our confidence) boosted today,” Detroit Lakes head coach Rachel Johnson said. “A lot of girls came together that haven’t necessarily played together a whole bunch. They can kind of see how they mesh and fit with one another and how they can fall back on each other to develop that full idea of a team. It’s good to see how they’ll support each other when we do see those tougher matchups.”

Junior Abby Larson led the way with a game-high 16 points. In a matchup where Detroit Lakes didn’t know what kind of team Little Falls (0-2) brought up North, the plan was simple.

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Elle Bettcher (right) dishes a pass to a teammate at the three-point line in Detroit Lakes' 65-15 win over Little Falls at the Ralph Anderson Gym on Dec. 4, 2021. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“We normally get film on a team, but they didn’t have any,” Larson said. “We had no idea what we were coming into. We knew our team was athletic, and we just wanted to stick to what we knew we could do well. We kind of did what we wanted to do tonight.”

Detroit Lakes had an edge definitely from the jump. Of the 15 total points allowed, only six of them came in the first half.

“I think the key for us is anticipating where passes are going,” Larson said. “We need to have communication on the floor too.”

Where Detroit Lakes really shined was in the emergence of newcomers. Junior veteran Jacee Hauser found herself in foul trouble early on, which required new faces to get in the mix–some of them for the first time at the varsity level.

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Jacee Hauser hits a three-pointer in Detroit Lakes' 65-15 win over Little Falls at the Ralph Anderson Gym on Dec. 4, 2021. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“You’ve got to be ready to go,” Johnson said. “Those individuals that needed to be ready to go today did their job. Ella Okeson, Ellie Lunde, Karlee Mace, Olivia Clarke-Brunette, Kiah Gloege, Shayla Stattelman and all of the girls who came in did a good job of stepping up and carrying out the role we need them to carry out.”

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Mace is the lone freshman on the varsity roster and had a significant impact off the bench. After playing half of the junior varsity game before the varsity tipoff, she scored 13 points in her debut to pace the Detroit Lakes bench.

“Karlee put in a lot of work this summer,” Johnson said. “Between her and Elle Bettcher, they were here almost every day. A lot of our girls had great attendance, but those two were here all the time and put in work outside of being here. Karlee’s been working hard in practice since the season started. We got her that half of the JV game to build some confidence and to get those first-game jitters out of the way. It worked great. She killed it.”

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Karlee Mace dishes a pass to a teammate in transition in Detroit Lakes' 65-15 win over Little Falls at the Ralph Anderson Gym on Dec. 4, 2021. Mace came off the bench and scored 13 points for the Lakers in her varsity debut. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

The Lakers could feel the flow from practice start to translate as the game wore on.

“We do a lot of fast-break stuff in practice where we go up and down as a team,” Larson said. “We have a lot of good chemistry, especially the girls that are back from last year.”

After coming away with a 50-point win, it’s somewhat challenging to decipher what needs improvement heading into games against Bemidji, Fergus Falls and Perham before Christmas break starts.

“The next step is to keep working on that press,” Johnson said. “We have a couple of different looks that we’re going to start putting in. We also need to start playing out of it on offense. We started coming around to it in the second half, which is nice to see. I would like to see us work through our progressions as well. It was just nice to get the first one out of the way. Now we can build from here.”

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Abby Larson rises for a layup in the first half of Detroit Lakes' 65-15 win over Little Falls at the Ralph Anderson Gym on Dec. 4, 2021. Larson led the Lakers with 16 points in the win. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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