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Detroit Lakes pulls away from Barnesville in the second half to win its season opener

Detroit Lakes boys basketball outscored Barnesville 46-30 in the second half on Friday night to win the season-opener 77-58 at Detroit Lakes High School.

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The Laker bench celebrates a three-pointer in the second half of Detroit Lakes' 77-58 win over Barnesville on Dec. 3, 2021 at Detroit Lakes High School. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Brett Maass was excited to get his first win out of the way as head coach of the Detroit Lakes basketball team. But even in a 77-58 victory against Barnesville, he maintains the Lakers have a long way to go to be the team he sees them being.

On Friday night, Detroit Lakes dominated the second half to win its season opener at home. The Lakers showed flashes of the fast-paced, high-intensity team Maass is molding.

“Trying to implement this takes a long time,” he said. “If you’re used to walking the ball up and taking your time, it’s really hard to implement. You have to preach it every single day. I’m pleased with where we are at with it. There’s a lot of things for us to improve, and it’s a long year. We just have to be patient. When you get a win against a team like (Barnesville), you can be happy and celebrate it. It’s a great win, but we still have to be better.”

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Mason Carrier (23) goes to the rim for two of his 25 points in Detroit Lakes' 77-58 win over Barnesville on Dec. 3, 2021 at Detroit Lakes High School. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

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Friday night was a coming-out party for sophomore Mason Carrier. After limited varsity time during the 2020-21 season, he has a game-high 25 points in the Lakers’ 19-point victory.

“All of the pressure is off now,” Carrier said. “I was getting all excited before the game. After I made my first bucket, I realized I could make this jump. I just had to calm down and get used to it.”

“He’s super confident,” Maass said of Carrier. “We told him, ‘Mason, you are a guy that can score in many ways. We need you to be confident.’ We know he’s a sophomore, and he hasn’t played much varsity basketball, but he’s one of these guys that we need to play with confidence. Obviously, he did that tonight.”

The Lakers jumped out to a 28-14 lead before Barnesville closed the first half on a 14-3 run in the final four minutes. Halftime was about getting back to basics.

“We wanted to work on our spacing,” Carrier said of the game plan coming out of halftime. “We needed to stay focused and keep our composure. We can’t get down on ourselves. If we just run our offense and work together, we will be alright. The crowd started cheering, and we started playing.”

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Nate Cihak (1) looks for a teammate to pass to in the second half of Detroit Lakes' 77-58 win over Barnesville on Dec. 3, 2021 at Detroit Lakes High School. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Where Detroit Lakes had a significant advantage was on the glass. The Lakers created second, third and sometimes fourth-chance opportunities with their offensive rebounding, which made up for some early shooting woes. Barnesville missed its heavy hitter in the post, and Detroit Lakes took advantage of some mismatches.

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“We prepared for them having (Kaden) Zenzen,” Maass said. “We told our guys that if we aren’t boarding and boxing out, it’s going to be a long night for us. We talked, preached and prepared for it. Even though (Zenzen) wasn’t here, they still have some big bodies that can crash the boards. They’re tough, physical and well-coached. That’s just how Barnesville is.”

The Lakers found a rhythm offensively in the second half and scored on more transition opportunities.

“In practice, we have a whole bunch of drills with full-court passing and all that,” Carrier said. “We run and pass, run and pass–faster faster faster to work on those plays. We have guys like Nate Cihak, who are great at passing and setting it up. We want to go fast and get buckets.”

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Oliver Quam hits one of his two-made three pointers in the second half of Detroit Lakes' 77-58 win over Barnesville on Dec. 3, 2021 at Detroit Lakes High School. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Defensively, Brandton Marsh set the tone by clearing up the glass. Detroit Lakes’ sophomore big man adds a level of athleticism some teams will struggle to match.

“When he stays on his feet, he’s the best defender we have,” Carrier said of Marsh. He can guard guys four, five inches taller than him. He can jump through the freakin’ roof. He’s crazy fun to watch.”

After missing the first two weeks of practice, senior Caeden Yliniemi played a limited role off the bench. In an abbreviated role, he paced the Laker reserves with five points and stingy defense.

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“We didn’t even think he was going to play today,” Maass said of Yliniemi. “We told him to dress, and we’d give him a couple of minutes here or there. He was all about it. He’s experienced, and he’s played for a long time. We trust him out there.”

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Christian Solberg takes a three-pointer in the second half of Detroit Lakes' 77-58 win over Barnesville on Dec. 3, 2021 at Detroit Lakes High School. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

It had been almost two years since the Ralph Anderson Gym was packed with fans for a Detroit Lakes high school basketball game. Carrier was all smiles after the Lakers moved to 1-0 in front of the home crowd.

“It feels like you’re on top of the world,” Carrier said of the home atmosphere when Detroit Lakes goes on a run. “It’s the best feeling. It’s just awesome.”

BARNESVILLE 28 30 - 58

DETROIT LAKES 31 46 - 77

SCORING- DETROIT LAKES- Nate Cihak 14, Mason Carrier, 25, Christian Solberg 12, Brandton Marsh 4, Caeden Yiliniemi 5, Oliver Quam 8, Mason Omberg 9; BARNESVILLE- Jack Nielson 6, Cameron Heng 4, Logan Ernst 6, Tate Inniger 20, Wyatt Suter 6, Zachary Bredman 15, Noah Krause 2, Owen Riddle 3, Braeden Bredman 2

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Ethan Carrier (3) guards Zachary Bredman in the second half of Detroit Lakes' 77-58 win over Barnesville on Dec. 3, 2021 at Detroit Lakes High School. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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