BURLINGTON - The Des Lacs-Burlington girls basketball team stepped up defensively when its backs were to the wall in the fourth quarter Monday against Our Redeemer's Christian School.
The Lakers trailed by as many as eight in the final quarter before shutting down the Knights' hot hand. DL-B limited ORCS to just eight points in the last eight minutes and posted a 57-51 comeback victory at Burlington Elementary School.
ORCS' junior forward McKensie Popinga gave the Knights a 51-43 lead early in the fourth quarter before DL-B clamped down defensively. The Lakers (6-7 overall, 3-2 District 12) held ORCS without a basket the rest of the way and closed the game on a 14-0 run.
Des Lacs-Burlington senior Courtney Vogel drives to the basket as Our Redeemer’s junior Gabi Boeckel defends Monday at Burlington Elementary School.
"It's a huge win because right now we control our own destiny to finish in the top four (of the district)," DL-B coach Shawn Kuhnhenn said. "We finished sixth last year, so that would be a big accomplishment."
DL-B freshman Erica Moen started the run with her third 3-pointer of the contest and sophomore Madison Sundsbak scored five of her seven points in the final minutes. Her last basket gave the Lakers a 52-51 lead with 1:53 remaining. Senior Kristy Langseth added her only field goal of the second half and classmate Courtney Vogel iced the game with two free throws.
"This was a very good team win for us," Vogel said. "Everybody did everything tonight. We all helped each other out."
The Lakers led 28-25 at halftime, but the Knights (8-7, 2-3) found their shooting touch in the third quarter. Junior guard Gabi Boeckel gave ORCS a 29-28 lead with 6:41 left in the third quarter and freshman guard Lauren Hendickson started a 13-5 run stretching into the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Senior Jenny Skees scored all 11 of her points in the second half, including three 3s before the wheels came off on the Knights' offense.
"They shot the lights out there for a while and we just fought and fought," Kuhnhenn said. "We fought our way back defensively and had a heck of a defensive effort."
The first half was a battle between the teams' leading scorers. Vogel recorded 11 points and ORCS freshman guard Morgan Olson tallied 12 in the first 16 minutes. Vogel finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Olson had 16 points.
"I thought we did a good job (on Vogel)," ORCS coach Kory Nelson said. "We got her tired, but she got some of her shots off. We started closing off the baseline drive, which forced her to do some other things. I thought Gabi and Karlee (Zablotney) did a fairly good job harassing her all night."
Back and fourth early, DL-B closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 16-8 lead. A basket by Moen to start the second quarter gave the Lakers a 10-point advantage - their largest of the game - before Olson tallied eight of ORCS' next 10 points to get within six. The Knights pulled within one with 32 seconds left in the half, but a fast-break layup by Vogel at the buzzer put DL-B up three at the break.
ORCS travels to Bottineau on Thursday. Both teams play in the District 12 Showcase on Saturday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.