Head Coach Rachel Johnson’s Detroit Lakes girls basketball team was looking for a bounce back game and an overtime loss to start the year and got it defeating Aitkin 50-39 Saturday afternoon in a Mid-State Conference game at Ralph Anderson Gymnasium.

“They executed exactly what we asked them to get done,” Johnson said. “We had to take a couple timeouts to talk a few things through but after a little refresher they figured it out and got the job done.”

The teams played to a tied score of 12-12 midway through the first half before Laker defenders amped up the pressure and DL took advantage offensively.

The Lakers created a gap on the scoreboard with an 11-4 run on buckets by Alex Bettcher, Kylee Price and Maddy Bowers to lead 23-16 with three minutes until halftime.

Maddy Bowers (13) defends against Aitkin's Teagan Piecek during the Lakers' first victory of the season Saturday afternoon. Robert Williams / Tribune
Maddy Bowers (13) defends against Aitkin's Teagan Piecek during the Lakers' first victory of the season Saturday afternoon. Robert Williams / Tribune

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The Gobblers sat in a defensive zone trying to force the Lakers to score from outside. DL had a distinct height advantage in the pain.

Aitkin’s collapsing zone clogged up the middle and Johnson and her staff continued to push their girls to speed up the action offensively throughout the game.

“They’re getting used to a new motion offense that we’ve put in,” said Johnson. “Making sure ball movement, timing and spacing is getting better.”

Johnson also used a lot of players, getting at least 10 on the floor.

“We’ve been getting some different girls out there because we’re going to need them down the road,” she said. “We’re still trying to figure out who works well with who and matchups always play a big deal on who we put out on the floor.

Johnson noted forward Jacee Hauser did not get as much playing time as anticipated because of matchups with the Gobblers.

“I’m proud of those girls for stepping into the roles we asked them to fill and doing their job for the day,” said Johnson.

The Lakers led 26-19 at halftime and opened second half play keeping Aitkin off the board. Bettcher scored the first three baskets of the half to put the Lakers up 14 on her way to a game-high 21 points.

DL held a double digit lead to the closing buzzer.

Abby Larson and Sarah Tangen each had eight points.

The Lakers shot 15 of 24 from the line (63 percent).

DL (1-1) hosts Thief River Falls. The boys and girls teams play a doubleheader that night. The Laker and Prowler boys start at 6 p.m., followed by the girls game at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Detroit Lakes 50, Aitkin 39

AIT 19 20 - 39

DET 26 26 - 50

AIT - Rae Nyberg 13, Ally Ehnstrom 11, Sarah McMillan 7, Ella Janzen 6, Teagan Piecek 4, Jillian Cline 1.

DET - Alex Bettcher 21, Abby Larson 8, Sarah Tangen 8, Kylee Price 5, Jacee Hauser 4, Mya Anderson 2, Maddy Bowers 2.