Girls basketball: Strong second half aids Alexandria in win over Detroit Lakes

The Detroit Lakes girls basketball team split the regular-season series against Alexandria after a 62-42 loss against the Cardinals on the road Tuesday.

Hadley Thul and DL 42-DSC_4546.JPG
Detroit Lakes' Ellie Lunde fights for the ball on he floor with Hadley Thul in the Lakers' 62-42 loss at Alexandria on Jan. 17, 2023 at Alexandria Area High School.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

ALEXANDRIA - Points haven’t always come easily in recent games between the Alexandria girls basketball team and Detroit Lakes.

That was still the case on Tuesday, Jan. 17, but Alexandria propelled itself to a 62-42 win by outscoring Detroit Lakes 26-11 down the stretch.

“We knew Detroit Lakes was going to be a tough team, and they were a tough team,” Alexandria head coach Wendy Kohler said. “We’ll probably see them again.”

Alexandria and Detroit Lakes met in the Section 8AAA semifinals last season, where Detroit Lakes won 71-67 and went on to win the section championship.

“This win is awesome,” sophomore Hadley Thul said. “I think once we hit a dry spot in the game, we’d bounce back by hitting a shot or getting a good fast break.”


Alexandria (10-3, 4-1 Section 8AAA) led 30-20 at halftime, but Detroit Lakes (9-3, 3-1 Section 8AAA) cut its deficit down to three points, 34-31, with about 12 and a half minutes to go.

The Cardinals went on a 7-0 run in the next couple of minutes which gave them the momentum to help them start to put the game away.

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Detroit Lakes' Karlee Mace shoots a three pointer in the Lakers' 60-40 loss at Alexandria on Jan. 17, 2023 at Alexandria Area High School.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

“When we called the timeout, we talked about ‘right here, right now, this is how we need to respond. We've been practicing hard and we've done the hard things over and over and over again; now it’s time to dig in and do it again,”’ Kohler said. “I was really proud of how we responded. We were fearless in that moment, and that was huge.”

“We figured out what we were doing wrong and started to execute,” sophomore Chloe Scholl said.

Alexandria out-muscled Detroit Lakes by making the necessary hustle plays to win.

Kohler said Detroit Lakes made the hustle plays it needed to cut it to a one-possession game early in the second half.

“That was mentioned in the timeout; they were out hustling us,” Kohler said. “I felt like, for the most part, outside of that stretch, we’re hustling for loose and 50/50 balls. I thought our consistency was there for most of the night in most of the phases of the game. This game was a good test for us. They had won the last few times we played, and we needed to lock in, and we did what we’ve been doing for the last three weeks.”

Alexandria and Detroit Lakes met once earlier this season. Detroit Lakes won that game on its home court, 56-50, on Dec. 16, 2022.


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Detroit Lakes' Grace Gunderson drives to the rim in the Lakers' 60-40 loss at Alexandria on Jan. 17, 2023 at Alexandria Area High School.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

“The girls have been practicing hard, and they’ve responded well to hard practices,” Kohler said. “They're doing the hard things right over and over again. We’re in good shape, and they lean on each other. They rely on each other to make it through tough practices and to make it through tough games”.

The Lakers did put together some nice stretches to chip away at the Cardinals, lead. But every time that happened, the Cardinals answered swiftly.

Alexandria is the seventh-ranked team in the Class AAA girls Minnesota Basketball News poll, while Detroit Lakes is the sixth-ranked team. Alexandria is the No. 6 ranked team in the Class 3A QRF rankings on and are the highest-rated team in the section.

The Cardinals got a significant boost from their bench on Tuesday as Ella Steussy, Kate Hennessey and others made big plays.

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Detroit Lakes' Ella Okeson looks to pass the ball in the Lakers' 60-40 loss at Alexandria on Jan. 17, 2023 at Alexandria Area High School.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

“We're deep, they're confident right now, and they're confident in each other,” Kohler said. “I think that’s huge. They support each other, and they depend on each other out on the court, which is huge. Our bench comes in, and they enable us to keep the intensity and the energy that we have throughout the course of a long game and hopefully try to get our teams down and frustrate them with more energy. We need our reserve players, and they’re tough kids. We have great practices, great balance, and, at practice, they challenge each other.”

Thul led all scorers with 17 points, while Scholl added 12.

The Lakers, who have been playing without senior forward Jacee Hauser since the start of the 2023 calendar year with an injury, were led in scoring by Abby Larson with 11 and Karlee Mace with 10 points.

Alexandria has won its last six games by at least 18 points and an average of 21.8 points.


The Cardinals have been stout defensively in their last six wins. Alexandria has held its last six opponents to 47 points or less.

“We try to press in the front court and go straight out for them,” Thul said.

“Coach Kohler has been really pushing it on us in practice to not force middle, and it’s really been showing in our games," Scholl said.

Detroit Lakes - 20 22 - 42

Alexandria - 30 32 - 62

ALEXANDRIA SCORING - Ella Steussy, 3 points; Lauren Beyer, 7 points; Hadley Thul, 17 points; Morgan Seesz, 5 points; Chloe Scholl, 12 points; MaCee Linow, 5 points; Allie Haabala, 6 points; Kate Hennessey, 5 points; McKinley Hoelscher, 2 points

DETROIT LAKES SCORING - Abby Larson, 11 points; Helena Daggett, 5 points; Ella Okeson, 7 points; Karlee Mace, 10 points; Grace Gunderson, 1 point; Elle Bettcher, 4 points; Ellie Lunde, 4 points

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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