Devils Lake Girls Basketball is still looking for their first win of the year after another pair of losses this weekend, but that isn’t to suggest that the Firebirds haven’t had their share of chances to succeed.
The group is still winless, but they’ve had ample opportunities to beat tough teams already this season, including West Fargo, who has since climbed up to third in the Class-A poll after defeating both Devils Lake and Fargo Shanley.
Shanley, the No. 5 team in the state, was one of the teams to defeat the Firebirds this weekend. They beat Devils Lake 71-60, led by a massive 35-point effort from Sarah Jacobson, a player that certainly ranks among the best high school basketball players in North Dakota.
Shanley is a team that many feel can compete for a state championship this season, but Devils Lake still feels that they could have taken more from the game.
The Deacons were already defeated by West Fargo this year, and just a few days ago, Devils Lake gave the Packers all they could handle, a game that saw the Firebirds carry a 12-point lead into halftime.
When they’re on their game, and when they can keep their best players on the floor, the Firebirds seem capable of playing with any team in the district, stride for stride. The key, however, is to keep those top performers on the floor, which is easier said than done considering the team’s depth on the bench.
Devils Lake had three players foul out against Shanley, effectively ending the team’s chances of a comeback effort.
Staying well conditioned and out of foul trouble will be a primary goal for all Devils Lake players heading into the second half of the season, because if those two components of the game aren’t on the Firebirds’ side, Devils Lake fans could see more losses than wins this season.
But head coach Justin Klein has a hard working group of players at his disposal, and he feels that if the girls continue to work hard and improve, they’ll be just fine. They certainly have the talent to compete at a high level, which is why the team’s poor start to the 2013-14 campaign has the team frustrated and unsatisfied with where they currently stand.
“When you look at our games so far, we could just as easily by 5-0, but we’re not,” said Klein, who is now in his third year as Devils Lake head coach. “All we can do is pick up over break and continue to work on our game. Where we stand, we’re still trying to avoid a play-in game, but to do that, we have to find out a way to get a win.
Page 2 of 2 - “If we can get that, then hopefully we can generate a little momentum.”
Madison Walford, an all-district selection last season, finished with a double-double in both games for Devils Lake. She finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds against Shanley, and she was back at it again on Saturday after recording another 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Sophomore forward Emily Schafer was the only other Devils Lake player to finish with double figures in both games. She had 16 on Friday night, good for second on the team behind Walford, and she had 11 the following day against Wahpeton.
Like the boys team, Devils Lake Girls Basketball now stands at the bottom of the district, but there is still much to be optimistic about. Their next opportunity to notch their first win will come following the holiday break in a home match up against Jamestown.