DLB falls to Linton in state tourney
Des Lacs-Burlington’s Thursday state quarterfinal match represented a step forward for the program and hope for the future, but a meeting with the reigning state champions dashed its present title hopes rather swiftly.
The Lakers, appearing in their first North Dakota Class B state tournament since 2001, leapt out to a hot start against the Region 3 champion Linton/Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock Lions but would eventually fall in three sets, 13-25, 12-25, 12-25, at the Bismarck Event Center.
Des Lacs-Burlington was led into its first state tournament berth in 20 years by Emily DeGree and Krysta Berard, each recording 300-plus kills throughout the regular season with 372 and 314, respectively.
It was Berard who put the Lakers on the scoreboard first with the first kill of the afternoon for either team, and DeGree notched two more following a Lions service error to propel the Lakers to an early 7-3 advantage in the opening set.
Lions head coach Jaime Richter used the first of her two timeouts to give her team a chance to regroup, and Linton stormed out of the break with 12 consecutive points.
The run forced Des Lacs-Burlington head coach Erica Moen’s hand in burning both timeouts, and a Kaelyn Bachmeier kill after the second pause finally put a brief halt to Linton’s potent offense.
Bachmeier registered her second kill on the other end of three more Lions points, and the Lakers, led by a block by Paige Berard, who had accumulated the team’s second-highest total in that category this season with 56, were able to string together three more scores after trailing 21-9 but dropped the first set 13-25.
The momentum it gained in the second half of the opening frame was all Linton needed, as the Lions cruised through each of the final two frames by identical 25-12 scores.
The second set was highlighted by a pair of service errors and an Emily DeGree kill halfway through that aided in a 5-2 Lakers run before Krysta Berard added a trio of kills down the stretch.
Des Lacs-Burlington began the third frame with a bit more vigor, overcoming an early 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead with help from a Paige Berard block, Krysta Berard kill and an Ava Fiest ace before the Lions once again took control.
Krysta Berard’s five kills on the afternoon paced her team and she was joined by three from DeGree, two from Bachmeier and one each from Paige Berard and Rachel Ralph. Laney Wahus tallied led the way with five assists, followed by Paige Berard’s four.