No. 3 Alexandria used pressure defense to turn Detroit Lakes over and knocked down big shots early jumping out to a big lead and cruising to a Section 8AAA quarterfinal victory at home 73-46 Tuesday, March 3.
“They are a very good team,” Detroit Lakes head coach Markus Okeson said. “They have all the tools to be a really good basketball team. They have perimeter shooting, speed and some size. They just give teams fits.”
The Cardinals scored the first eight points of the game, were interrupted by Max Gunderson getting the Lakers on the board, and took a quick 13-2 advantage thanks to three-point baskets by Carrson Jones, Kristen Hoskins and Ethan Patience.
“We knew Alexandria was going to come out and they’re going to make shots,” said Okeson. “We just can’t turn the ball over and help them. Unfortunately, in that first half we turned the ball over and helped them a bit. They gathered momentum from those turnovers and stuck a bunch of shots.”
The Lakers had 12 first half turnovers and 19 in the game. Meanwhile, Alex was simply pumping up the scoreboard. The Cardinals led by 20 points midway through the half 26-6.
DL was down 25 points four minutes later.
Nate Cihak and Drew Markuson drained threes on back-to-back trips late in the half, one of the only offensive highlights in an opening 18 minutes that was all Alexandria.
The Cards went to halftime up 46-19.
The Lakers settled down in the second half. Okeson noted in the first timeout that the team felt like themselves and played within themselves out of the break.
The game was well in hand for the home team by then.
Colton Roderick led the Cardinals with 20 points. Tate Kerzman matched that effort with 20, scoring 16 in the second half while pulling down 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Max Gunderson added 11 points.
Tuesday’s game was the final contest for eight seniors: Cole Bryant, Gabe Hanninen, Markuson, Gunderson, Reed Mace, Kerzman, Hunter Cheska and Caleb Tangen.
“The seniors we had were great all-around kids, great kids to coach and in practice,” Okeson said. “They worked hard and did everything we asked of them. They’re great personalities. They brought a lot to our program, just representing our high school the right way.”
The Lakers finished the season 11-16.
The No. 3 Cardinals improved to 19-8 and will travel to No. 2 Bemidji (19-6) Friday, March 6. The Jacks defeated No. 7 Little Falls 76-49 to advance.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 St. Cloud Apollo (19-8) trailed No. 8 St. Cloud Tech in the first half but ran away from the Tigers 70-59. Apollo hosts No. 5 Sauk Rapids-Rice (11-16) in the semifinals Friday. The Storm defeated No. 4 Sartell-St. Stephen by a bucket 67-65.
Section 8AAA Quarterfinal
Alexandria 73, Detroit Lakes 46
DL 19 23 - 46
AL 46 23 - 73
DL - Tate Kerzman 20, Max Gunderson 11, Reed Mace 6, Hunter Cheska 3, Nate Cihak 3, Drew Markuson 3.
AL - Colton Roderick 20, Kristen Hoskins 16, Carrson Jones 15, Erik Hedstrom 12, Ethan Patience 5, Ryan Forster 3, Isaac McCoy 2.