Strong finish and broken records highlight DL's season
It started as a forgettable season, but ended as one to be remembered. The Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team seemed to be on the long road to ruin after starting the season 3-13, but a momentous push in the final 16 games made the Lakers finish...
It started as a forgettable season, but ended as one to be remembered.
The Detroit Lakes boys' basketball team seemed to be on the long road to ruin after starting the season 3-13, but a momentous push in the final 16 games made the Lakers finish with a respectable 10-16 record after winning their final seven of nine games.
The positive finale was reinforced by the ending of one of the best careers put in by a Laker boys' basketball player, as well.
Senior Adam Thielen finished his Laker hoop career holding six DLHS records, including the all-time career points leader with 1,328 points.
He also inked his name in the record books as the highest single-season point scorer with 577 (breaking Dave Nelson's 435 points, set in 1969-70).
Thielen also holds the single-game point record with 42 -- after he broke Jim Chivers' of 39 with a 40-point effort earlier in the season, then ripped off 42 against Perham later.
He previously held the school record of seven steals in a game and the single-season steal mark of 74, but Thielen is now the all-time steal record-holder with 200, eclipsing Rory Manke's mark of 157.
Thielen just missed owning the crown for all-time three-pointers made, coming up five shy of Andrew Leitheiser's 189 career makes from beyond the arc.
But in his senior season, Thielen became more of a versatile player, adding the ability to drive to the basket and create mismatches by posting up more on the block.
"Last year, Adam was either shooting three-pointers or layups," said first-year head coach Robb Flint. "This summer, we worked with him to take the ball to the rim. He has a great first step and is strong enough to take that first contact.
"His body control and finesse helped him create some contact while driving to the basket and finishing it after the contact."
Thielen's reliance on the three pointer dipped; instead he made it to the free throw line more by driving the lane, thus creating more opportunities for his teammates.
His junior year, he was 44-173 from three-point land, while his sophomore season he went 70-234.
It was a dramatic drop in his senior year, where he went 44-127, but still scored a DLHS all-time single-season record of 577 points.
His numbers were supplemented at the free throw line, where he went 111-165, compared to his junior season record of 35-60, and his sophomore year, where he went 56-92.
Thielen also led the team this season in points, steals (65) and rebounds (117).
"He shot less with 15.5 shots a game, but still averaged 22.2 points per game," Flint said. "He just became more efficient."
With opponents' defense keying on Thielen, his teammates stepped up their play -- especially in the latter half of the season.
The igniting factor to the late-season rally was a 66-57 victory in Perham Feb. 26.
It was that game which instilled the confidence for the 7-2 run to end the season.
"It was our best game, offensively and defensively," Flint said. "We were outsized by Perham by a lot, but we were able to take it to them."
Senior Chris Gilson also solidified his role as DL's stopper and best defensive player. From then on, Gilson was able to shut down basically every opponent's best scorer.
Free throw shooting also was improved on a high scale. During their 3-13 span, the Lakers were shooting 52 percent from the line.
By the end of the season, they were shooting an improved 64 percent (302-467).
"It was a mental thing for the guys, but by the end of the season, they had grown up," Flint added.
The loss of junior post Kyle Muckenhirn to an injury was a blow, since he was the tallest on the team, thus making the Lakers more of a miniature team.
"Losing Kyle was a big loss," Flint said. "But (freshman) Josh Stalberger played well for us on the post later in the season."
The Lakers worked on fundamentals every day in practice, and that included rebounding, where they were at a disadvantage in most contests.
"In our playoff loss to Little Falls, the size really hurt us," Flint said. "But we improved in rebounding because we worked on it in practice."
Flint is hoping the strong finish to the season is a momentum push for next year, despite losing one of DL's best players ever in Thielen, along with a slew of solid players in seniors Gilson, Jarod Griffith, Ryan Kuehne, Kyle Fode and Eddie Taylor.
"I hope the finish catapults us into next year," Flint said. "A lot of people are excited what we are building here. Hopefully we can keep building it up."
Junior guard Reed Oistad will be looked upon to replace some of Thielen's points, after he recorded a second team-high 234 points. He also led the team in assists with 78.
The Lakers may have started the season on an off note, but a strong push later, ended the 2007-08 schedule on a good one.
Detroit Lakes boys basketball 2007-08 stats -- Record: 10-16...Mid-State Conference record: 3-7.
Individual stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts): Mike Beeson 1-0-2-2-4; Kyle Fode 15-10-14-22-74; Chris Gilson 62-20-26-42-210; Jarod Griffith 32-14-20-24-126; Brady Johnson 0-1-2-4-5; Max Knoll 9-0-2-6-20; Zane Kotschevar 27-0-43-69-97; Ryan Kuehne 25-13-13-18-102; Reed Oistad 49-32-40-57-234; Josh Stalberger 6-1-5-11-20; Eddie Taylor 27-0-24-47-78; Adam Thielen 167-44-111-165-577. Team: 420-135-302-467-1547.
Other stats (Asst-stls-def rbd-off rbd) -- Beeson 3-2-1-0; Fode 19-5-10-21; Gilson 35-20-26-23; Griffith 51-35-49-25; Johnson 1-0-0-0; Knoll 4-3-11-5; Kotschevar 9-6-7-22; Kuehne 20-6-11-24; Oistad 78-32-34-10; Stalberger 4-2-5-4; Taylor 7-10-11-34; Thielen 55-65-72-45. Team: 286-186-237-213.