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Brian Wierima / Forum Communications Co., Published March 21 2012

DeLaSalle tops Detroit Lakes at state boys basketball

MINNEAPOLIS – A relentless defense, a freshman guard and a 32.8 shooting percentage were big factors in the Detroit Lakes boys basketball team’s 65-46 loss to No. 2-seeded DeLaSalle on Wednesday in the Minnesota Class 3A state boys basketball quarterfinals at the Williams Arena.

The Islanders (24-6) advanced to the state semifinals with their normal formula of applying suffocating defense, which in turn was backed by their 55.6 shooting percentage for the game.

They also were led by freshman guard Jarvis Johnson, who poured in 22 points on a 9-for-12 performance from the floor.

On the flipside, the Lakers (22-8) were able to handle DeLaSalle’s defense early, but failed to sink their shots. They shot only 35.7 percent in the first half, while the Islanders posted a 60 percent shooting mark to build a commanding 36-22 halftime advantage.

“We were missing our shots, and that kind of spread the gap a bit,” said senior guard Joe Mollberg, who led the Lakers with 20 points. “DeLaSalle’s defense is the best one we’ve seen this year, and it’s hard to get anything going with that kind of intensity in your face.”

An 11-2 run midway through the first half showed the first cracks of DL’s handling of the Islanders defense, as Johnson sparked DeLaSalle with a pair of 3-pointers and an acrobatic, behind-the-back layup to put his team up 31-20.

Lakers head coach Robb Flint threw multiple defenses at DeLaSalle, which looked like it stymied the Islanders for a bit.

But the Islanders’ guards started to control the perimeter with quick passes, which opened the middle up for 6-foot-6 sophomore Reid Travis under the basket.

“DL really switched up their defenses a lot to try and keep us off-balance,” said DeLaSalle head coach Dave Thorson. “I thought the first three minutes of the game, we were affected by some jitters.

“But after about the 14-minute mark, our guards were doing a great job reversing the ball and finding DL’s weak point. Our perimeter players were disciplined and found the open players.”

The Lakers’ defensive focus was to contain Travis – who averages more than 20 points per game – and shooting guard Luke Scott. That allowed Johnson to find some space on the outside.

“We made sure to hold Travis and Scott in check for the most part and take our chances that Johnson wouldn’t beat us,” said Flint. “Johnson was the one who broke our backbone. He’ll be a special player.”

Thorson, who is a Fargo native and a frequent visitor to Detroit Lakes, appreciated the Lakers’ season and the job Flint has done to help get them there.

DeLaSalle assistant coach Todd Anderson is also from Lake Park-Audubon.

“I think Robb is going to have to owe me a dinner at Fireside when I get through there again,” Thorson joked. “That’s my favorite place to eat.”

DL (22-8): McLeod 4 0-0 8, Mollberg 8 0-2 20, Hutchinson 4 0-0 10, Labat 1 0-0 2, Long 1 0-0 2, Singer 1 0-0 2, Lyngaas 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 0-2 46.

D (24-6): Barker 3 0-1 6, Johnson 9 2-3 22, Scott 2 1-2 7, Travis 7 6-9 20, Moore 1 0-0 2, Svanoe 1 0-0 2, Anim 0 1-2 1, Shepherd 2 0-1 4. Totals 25 10-18 65.

Half: D 36, DL 22. 3-point goals: Mollberg 4, Hutchinson 2, Scott 2, Johnson 2. Total fouls: DL 15, D 5. Fouled out: Labat. Rebounds: DL 33 (Labat 9), D 34 (Johnson 9). Assists: DL 12 (Labat 4), D 18 (Moore 9). Steals: DL 4 (four tied with 1), D 7 (Scott, Moore 2). Turnovers: DL 8, D 6.

Wierima is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune