Lakers top Panthers for regional berth

It’s been three years since the Des Lacs-Burlington girls basketball team made it to the Region 6 tournament.

This season, the Lakers will be one of the eight schools represented after a 47-40 victory over Glenburn in a region qualifier Monday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

“That was our number one goal this year to, first off, have a better record than last year and make regionals,” DL-B coach Shawn Kuhnhenn said. “I can’t be more proud of how our team handled the game tonight. It was a close, hard-fought game.”

The Lakers (10-11) finished 9-13 last season.

DL-B senior Courtney Vogel finished with a game-high 15 points and freshman Erica Moen and sophomore Brittany DeGree chipped in nine and seven, respectively. The fourth-seeded Lakers play Velva in the first round of the region tournament.

The trio scored 10 of DL-B’s 14 first-quarter points as the Lakers jumped out to a 9-0 lead. Glenburn junior guard Sam Koetter got the Panthers – the seventh seed – on the scoreboard late in the first quarter. Koetter led Glenburn with 12 points.

The Panthers (5-17) climbed back in it after holding DL-B to nine points in the second quarter. Glenburn junior forward Katie Dufner scored all seven of her points in the frame as the Panthers trailed 23-19 at halftime.

“We came out really fast and excited and then we got a little too relaxed,” Vogel said. “That gave them time to catch up, but we pulled it off in the end and that’s what matters.”

The Lakers opened up a 37-28 lead at the end of the third quarter before Glenburn got within three at 41-38 halfway through the fourth. But two free throws and a basket by Vogel and another shot from Moen put DL-B up nine with 1:24 left.

“We started slowing it down a little bit,” Kuhnhenn said. “We tried pushing it early in the game and tried getting some transition points. More toward the end we started slowing it down and passed the ball around and took time off the clock.”

The Lakers held Glenburn to one field goal in the final five minutes.

“Defense is always the key in the final minutes,” Vogel said. “We had to stop their better players and defense was definitely the key.”

Vogel was named to the all-district team.

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