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DL-B Lakers look to navigate back to state

Submitted Photo The 2023-24 Des Lacs-Burlington boys’ basketball team.

BURLINGTON – With Carson Yale now playing for the Minot State University men’s basketball program after graduation from Des Lacs-Burlington, the Lakers are heading back to the drawing board as they work towards improving on a fourth-place finish at state a year ago.

“Anytime you lose 6’9” off your roster, you’re going back to the drawing board,” said Lakers boys’ basketball head coach Chris Brown, who is in his third year leading the program. “We have three great seniors coming back from last year’s squad in Braylon Fisher, Paxton Ystaas and Ty Hughes.”

Add to the mix junior guard Jacob Schaefer, who also saw significant time on the court at last year’s state tournament, and Brown is confident the experience of those four players will make them hungry to return this year.

This year also sees Des Lacs-Burlington move up to Division A in the new three class system, being implemented for the first time; however, Brown downplays the impact on his program.

“Just a few longer bus rides. That’s about it as far as that goes,” Brown said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re lined up against. We’ll find out early here where we stand, and we’ll work on building towards our ultimate goal of playing in Fargo in March.”

Speed is a major strength for the Lakers, and fans can expect to see up tempo play on both offense and defense.

“We’re going to try to get up in your face defensively for 90 feet, whether it’s man-to-man or zone press, we’ll mix it up, but we’re gonna try and get after it,” Brown said.

Paxton Ystaas will have a major role for the Lakers at the point guard position, where he will run the offense similar to how he did as quarterback of Des Lacs-Burlington’s football team.

“Calm. Cool. Collected,” Brown said of Ystaas. “He gets the guys in the right spots, and definitely is a great player to have.”

Braylon Fisher is another senior who brings length to the floor, as well as speed in getting to the rim well. According to Brown, he worked on his perimeter shooting during the summer.

“Ty Hughes is one of the hardest working players in the program and the biggest heart I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “Does all the dirty jobs and never complains. He’s actually put some time in his shot too, and he’s able to step away from the basket.”

Ystaas certainly believes the Lakers can return to state and potentially improve on last year’s fourth-place finish.

“Last year gave us a lot of confidence coming into this year. Let us know what we can do,” Ystaas said. “We can go that far and go farther. I think we felt like we had it last year, just came up a bit short. I think we can kind of ride that momentum coming in from baseball and football as well.”

Des Lacs-Burlington was scheduled to open their season on the road at Killdeer, but the game was postponed due to inclement weather. The Lakers are scheduled to host Velva this afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

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