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Lakers stifle Surrey 45-33

Ava Brown scores 17 in winning effort

Ryan Ladika/MDN Kaylee Werner, 12, drives to the paint in the second quarter of the Lakers’ Monday night win.

As far as regular-season matchups go, the Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers knew this was one of the more important ones.

With the calendar nearing the campaign’s final full month, the nine-win Lakers girls’ basketball squad rode a stout defensive performance to a 45-33 home victory over fellow nine-win Surrey High School Monday night.

“We knew tonight was going to be a tough game for us,” said Des Lacs-Burlington head coach Tracy Bonn. “We were both tied at 2-2 in the district. So this was a must-win for us, and the girls came out not perfect, but able to adjust, and (to) come out with that win was a big deal.”

An early feel for the three-point shot pushed the Mustangs (9-6 overall, 2-3 District 12) out in front in the opening minutes of the Monday evening tilt. After a Mia Aberle two-point field goal, Harli Dickman and Amanda Severson sandwiched a Zannah Bjerklie triple with respective makes from beyond the arc to give Surrey a quick 8-4 lead.

Aberle, who finished with a team-high 11 points, and Melissa Dougan combined for six more in the final four minutes of the first quarter in response to seven from Paige Berard, MacKenzie Rist and Kaylee Werner, and the Mustangs brought a 14-11 lead into the second frame.

The Lakers’ (10-4, 3-2) defensive scheme shone out of the brief pause, yielding only two Surrey field goals in the quarter while bolstering its offense on the other end to nine points.

A total of 4:27 had elapsed between Aberle’s field goal with 56 seconds on the clock in the first quarter and Amelia Hoffman’s drought-breaking two-point jumper in the second, and Des Lacs-Burlington then held the Mustangs off the scoreboard for the final 2:37 of the half.

“It’s definitely what we’ve always taken pride in, basically all my life,” Bonn said of the defensive aspect. “Since I was a player, all my coaches have thought that was the most important part of the game, and I believe in that as well, but my girls are just fast and tough. It’s not like I have to work hard to get them to work hard, they just do. They just get it.”

Ava Brown scored four of her game-high 17 points in the period, joined by two from Werner and Des Lacs-Burlington’s third three-pointer of the game courtesy of Allie Glasoe. On the strength of its defense, the Lakers took their first lead of the game with 4:53 to play in the first half and later brought a 20-18 lead into the locker room.

Surrey found a counterpunch in the third quarter, rattling off a 9-4 stretch behind Aberle, Hoffman and Sienna Klimpel before Brown and Logen Ystaas produced four more to take the Laker lead right back, 28-27 entering the final quarter. Brown represented the majority of Des Lacs-Burlington’s offense in the frame, with six of its eight points.

The Laker defense only got stronger as the game dwindled into its last eight minutes, as the unit produced its second quarter of the game with three or fewer field goals allowed. Aberle and Dickman managed the lone six points of the frame for Surrey and Brown paced Des Lacs-Burlington with seven in the quarter to cap off the eight-point win.

In the winning effort, the Lakers limited the Mustangs to single digits in each of the final three quarters and secured the ninth game in their first 14 this season during which the team yielded fewer than 40 points.

“We go hard in practice, we do a lot of scrimmage situations, a lot of game situations,” Bonn continued. “And then a lot of switching defenses, we try to get them to think ahead through the game and find those positions on the court beforehand, so we don’t get lost.”

Des Lacs-Burlington will now have a couple of days off before its Jan. 27 road meeting with Our Redeemer’s Christian School, while the Mustangs will conclude a tough back-to-back with their own away matchup with the Knights Tuesday evening.

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