Girls basketball: Lakers blow out Jacks in second half, extend winning streak

The Detroit Lakes girls basketball team didn't look back after taking a 17-16 lead. The Lakers rolled to a 49-27 win over Bemidji and extended its winning streak to eight games.

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Detroit Lakes' Elle Better runs the baseline on Jan. 10, 2023 in a 49-27 win over Bemidji at Bemidji High School.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls basketball team played an excellent first half on Tuesday at the BHS Gymnasium.

The Lumberjacks leaned on defense – their identity so far this season – to hold Detroit Lakes to just 17 points. Before Elle Bettcher’s last-second layup, Bemidji held a slim 16-15 lead in the closing moments of the opening frame.

But once the Lakers assumed that 17-16 edge, they didn’t look back. DL turned on the afterburners in the second half, scorching BHS 32-11 to claim a lopsided 49-27 victory.

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Detroit Lakes' Ellie Lunde, left, and Ella Okeson low five on Jan. 10, 2023 in a 49-27 win over Bemidji at Bemidji High School.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“We continue to do a lot of great things defensively,” BHS head coach Darin Schultz said. “That team is now 8-1, and we held them to 17 points in the first half. In the second half, we still held them to under 50 points, but a lot of their points came off of our offense. A lot of our turnovers turned into easy points for them.

“The biggest difference for them is we just did not adjust to their zone. We kept turning the ball over and unfortunately, they had 16 more shots than us. And when that happens, it's tough to come away with a win.”


The Lumberjacks (5-7) weren’t exactly lighting the nets on fire in the first half, but their defense disrupted Detroit Lakes’ attack while their offense scored enough key baskets to keep the contest within reach. That flipped in the second session, though, as the lengthy Lakers turned up the heat and deflected pass after pass.

“There's advantages and disadvantages (to having size),” Schultz said. “The advantages to them, obviously they're longer, they're able to do things like trap us and put us in bad spots. For us, we have quickness. So we've got to find ways to utilize our quickness a little bit better, and give ourselves better chances to score in transition and hopefully give us a chance to compete.”

DL burst out of the halftime break with a 9-1 run, then built on that early surge to reach a 30-18 lead. After a BHS timeout, Beth Bolte striped a 3-pointer and Gracee Bieber banked in a turnaround layup to cut the deficit to 32-23.

But that was as close as the Jacks would get. Detroit Lakes promptly ripped off a 13-0 run to seal the game, and it included two layups off Bemidji turnovers.

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Detroit Lakes' Abby Larson defends on Jan. 10, 2023 in a 49-27 win over Bemidji at Bemidji High School.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“It's not easy,” said Schultz, who is in his first season as the Jacks' bench boss. “... The common theme that I'm adjusting to as a coach and the teams that we play, there's no nights off for us. We're coming to battle every single night. … There's great teams all over Minnesota, and we're competing with them. We’ve just got to find ways to get over the hump.”

Bieber led Bemidji with eight points, while Clara Bieber and Mya Vincent each contributed five. Abby Larson paced the Lakers with 14 points, Grace Gunderson added 11 and Ellie Lunde poured in 10.

Since losing their first game of the season, the Lakers have roped off eight straight wins. The No. 9 team in Class 3A will host Pequot Lakes, the No. 11 team in Class 2A on Friday night at Lakeshirts Fieldhouse

Detroit Lakes 49, Bemidji 27 


DL 17 32 -- 49

BHS 16 11 -- 27

DETROIT LAKES -- Larson 14, Gunderson 11, Lunde 10, Okeson 6, Bettcher 4, Dagget 4.

BEMIDJI -- G. Bieber 8, C. Bieber 5, Vincent 5, Bolte 3, LaValley 3, Lish 2, Milbrandt 1.

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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