Lakers alone atop district with win over ORCS

The Des Lacs-Burlington boys basketball team is in the midst of a brutal stretch of games against some of the top teams in Region 6.

The Lakers took down rival Bishop Ryan on Friday, got crushed by No. 2 Rugby on Saturday and traveled to Our Redeemer’s Christian School on Tuesday in a matchup of the lone unbeatens in District 12.

In front of a packed gym half-filled with DL-B fans, the Lakers raced out to an early lead and pulled away late for a 82-63 victory against the Knights. DL-B senior Tanner Holte dropped a game-high 30 points and three other Lakers finished in double figures.

DL-B (14-2 overall, 5-0 district) opened the game on a 10-0 run and held ORCS without a point for the first 3:23. The Knights were forced to play catch-up the rest of the way, getting as close as two, but never able to grab the lead.

DL-B’s defensive pressure gave the Knights (14-3, 4-1) fits all night. ORCS committed 20 turnovers, many leading to fast break layups at the other end.

“We want to be the aggressor,” DL-B coach Doug Wagner said. “We had a few games this year where we’ve been way too passive and that just doesn’t play to our strength. That’s not our forte. We need to be the aggressor. Having said that, we need to make good decisions so we don’t get into foul trouble.”

Foul trouble was the story for both teams. The Knights were already in the bonus with 3:25 left in the first quarter, allowing them to creep back into the game. DL-B senior Chris Duke picked up his third personal with 3:40 remaining in the first half. With the 6-foot-5 wing on the bench, the Knights went on a 7-0 run to close within 29-27. The Lakers scored three of the final four baskets for a 35-29 lead at the intermission.

A thunderous dunk by Holte opened the third quarter and DL-B quickly pushed its lead to 11. But baskets by ORCS junior Davis Koppinger and senior Nick Stenvold and a 3-pointer by senior Micah Jacobsen drew the Knights within four.

It was all DL-B from that point on. Leading 40-36, the Lakers closed the third quarter on a 16-6 spurt. Turnovers and tired legs doomed ORCS in the fourth.

“We not only turned the ball over too much, but we looked like we ran out of gas at the end,” ORCS coach Jeremy Feller said. “We’re playing a man down, but so are they, so that’s not an excuse. Our minutes got stretched a little longer than normal and it showed at the end. We weren’t able to come back.”

The Knights were without 6-6 sophomore John Reiten, who was injured against Berthold on Thursday. DL-B’s Eric Knutson also sat out with an injury.

Holte, who scored the first points of each quarter, added nine more points in the fourth and – more importantly – forced sophomores Ben Talley and Nathan Demme into foul trouble with his presence near the rim. With emphasis on Holte, the Lakers shared the wealth. Seniors Cole Edwards (13), Chris Duke (12) and Mitch Medalen (11) all finished in double figures.

“We started slow in the first half and we knew in the second half we had to play a lot better as a team,” Holte said. “We moved the ball around, got the ball inside and also found guys on the outside.”

The Lakers scored 47 points after halftime

Jacobsen led ORCS with 17 points. Koppinger (15) and Talley (12) also finished in double figures.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for DL-B, which plays No. 8 Berthold in “District 12 Day” on Saturday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. The Knights are also at the Aud on Saturday, taking on Surrey.

Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.