Devils Lake was not on the receiving end of much respect when the high school basketball season got under way. Perhaps now those prognosticators are beginning to take notice.


Devils Lake was not on the receiving end of much respect when the high school basketball season got under way. Perhaps now those prognosticators are beginning to take notice.
Devils Lake, which was tabbed to finish sixth in the Eastern Dakota Conference this season, got scoring from nine players and had three reach double figures as the Firebirds logged a 73-49 win over Wahpeton on Wednesday at the Devils Lake Sports Center.
The game was moved up one day from its original Thursday date in an effort to avoid the latest winter storm that began late Wednesday afternoon. Devils Lake improved to 3-2 in the EDC with the win and are now 4-2 on the season. It was the third straight win for the Firebirds.
"I was happy with our defensive effort," Devils Lake coach Scott Privratsky said.
He should be. He should also be pleased with the play of several of his underclassmen.
With just over three minutes left in the game and his team holding a commanding 67-46 advantage, the veteran coach pulled several starters from the game and challenged the talented group of reserves who took the floor at that time.
"I told them I wanted to keep (Wahpeton) under 50 points," Privratsky said, "and they did. We only gave up three points the rest of the way."
For the second straight night senior Hannah Elshaug provided a major spark for the Firebirds. The six-foot senior scored the first eight points of the game for Devils Lake, which later got a basket from Mackenzie Wade to start a 15-5 run that allowed the Firebirds to increase their lead from 17-12 to 32-17 in a span of 4:07.
Devils Lake held a 34-24 advantage at the intermission.
A 3-pointer from Steph Mertens with just over five minutes left in the game gave Devils Lake a 65-43 lead, its biggest of the night.
Elshaug, who scored 26 points in Tuesday's win over Valley City, led the way again for the Firebirds. She connected on 10 shots from the floor and added one free throw to end the game with 21 points.
Mertens finished with 14 points, while Chelsea Kurtz came off the bench to score 10.
Elshaug and Kurtz tied for game-high honors with seven rebounds each. That helped the Firebirds to a commanding 42-26 advantage on the boards in the game.
Privratsky said his team needs to continue to improve in handling the basketball. One day after turning the ball over just nine times against Valley City the Firebirds were guilty of 19 turnovers in Tuesday's triumph. On the flip side of that equation, Devils Lake forced the Huskies into 32 turnovers.
Mackenzie Wade registered a game-high eight steals against Wahpeton and Kelley Olson added three steals for the Firebirds, while four other players each had two steals for Devils Lake,
Devils Lake returns to action Jan. 4 when the Firebirds entertain EDC newcomer Fargo Davies at the Devils Lake Sports Center.

Wahpeton (49): Tawny Irwin 20, Allie Albrecht 11, Lachelle Bumgarner 6, Megan DeVillers 6, Whitney Klosterman 2, Molly
Wynn 2, Addie Onchuck 2.
Devils Lake (73): Hannah Elshaug 21, Steph Mertens 14, Chelsea Kurtz 10, Mackenzie Wade 7, Christa Lysne 7, Madison
Walford 6, Kelley Olson 4, Krissy Larson 2, Sarah Schafer 2.

3-pointers: Wahpeton 4 (Bumgarner 2, Irwin 2), Devils Lake 2 (Mertens 2). Rebounds: Wahpeton 26 (Albrecht 4, Onchuck 4),
Devils Lake 42 (Elshaug 7, Kurtz 7). Fouls: Wahpeton 14, Devils Lake 16. Fouled out: none. Assists: Wahpeton 10 (Albrecht 5),
Devils Lake 16 (Wade 3, Olson 3, Kurtz 3). Steals: Wahpeton 19 (Irwin 3), Devils Lake 32 (Wade 8). Blocks: Wahpeton 1
(Irwin 1), Devils Lake 2 (Kurtz 2). Turnovers: Wahpeton 32, Devils Lake 19.

Halftime: Devils Lake 34-24

Records: Devils Lake 3-2 EDC, 4-2 overall; Wahpeton 1-2 EDC, 2-3 overall.