The Detroit Lakes seventh-grade girls were runners-up in Pacesetter Great Five-State tournament last weekend, capping a strong season in both school and summer basketball.
Bismarck Showtime turned back the Lakers 29-20 in the championship game at Target Center on Sunday, July 14. The Lakers advanced to the finals defeating Rapid City (SD) 24-14 and West Fargo (ND) 24-15.
Detroit Lakes was the Minnesota runner-up, losing to Mountain Iron-Buhl 28-17 in the finals. MIB was not able to attend the five-state tournament.
This event brings together top teams from Pacesetter state tournaments in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Laker team members are Ava Jones, Brook Markuson, Helena Daggett, Ella Bommersbach, Karly Mace, Hanna Knoop, Ella Okeson, Grace Gunderson, Elle Bettcher, and Sydney Borgmann. Coaches are Mike Gunderson and Bob Jones.
“Against Bismarck, even though a loss, it was a fun game and gives us things to work on to get better,” said Gunderson.
“What makes this team special is how well they get along. They work hard every practice and game. It’s always a true team effort. We have had multiple girls hit big shots and played great defense all year.”
This group won the Pacesetter Great Four-State in 2017 in fifth grade, beating the same Bismarck Showtime team in the finals. They also placed third in 2016. The event expanded to five states last year.
The Lakers were unbeaten in the school season, Gunderson said, and have won eight of 12 tournaments in the summer. They lost to Alexandria in state finals after beating them in the regional finals. (Alexandria was not able to attend the five-state tournament.) Another highlight, the coach said, was hosting a tournament and beating Fargo Davies in the finals.
The team stayed to watch the Minnesota Lynx beat Phoenix 75-62 on Sunday evening. That’s part of the Pacesetter package.
“Pacesetter tournaments, and the chance to play at the Target Center, and watch a Lynx game, creates excitement for basketball,” Gunderson said. “We truly enjoy the whole Pacesetter experience.”