It was a good night for the Devils Lake girls basketball team as it picked up an EDC win.
By Harry Lipsiea
With a conference win on the line, there was no letdown in sight for the Devils Lake girls basketball team Tuesday evening. The Firebirds hosted a youthful Fargo South squad, 0-13, in the Devils Lake Sports Center. From beginning to end, the home team dominated the action earning a 76-25 EDC triumph.
Balanced scoring was a key for the Firebirds as the squad had 12 players finish with points in the game. Devils Lake head coach Justin Klein was pleased with his team's effort and ability to take care of business.
"We knew they were shorthanded with some injuries, but our message was that we couldn't let up. There are no guarantees in the EDC and they had nothing to lose," the coach told the Journal. "Our kids responded pretty well and came out with good energy."
While Devils Lake put up 75 points, the key to success started with a fine defensive effort. The Firebirds limited the Bruins to just 11 points in the first half.
"We did a good job with our man defense. The important thing for us was our ability to stay down and keep a nice position," Klein pointed out. "Another thing we have been working on is limiting the number of free throws of our opponents. They only got to the line 12 times, so I thought it was a definite improvement for us."
Devils Lake jumped out to an extremely quick start. Buckets by Alex Palmer and Mattea Vetsch along with a three-point play by Averi Ziegler gave the squad an early 18-4 advantage. The home team kept it going from there as Mattisyn Barendt and Macey Schneider hit jumpers to give the Firebirds a 24-point lead. Jess Mertens and Abby Johnson added steals ultimately leading to transition points that helped Devils Lake take a 42-11 advantage at the half.
It was more of the same in the second half. Early baskets by Ziegler and Johnson along with a three by Vetsch gave Devils Lake a 40-point lead.
The Firebirds then received nice performances from a number of reserves. Baskets by Ramsey Brown, Jenna Windjue and Abby Heilman made the score 68-22. Devils Lake ultimately wrapped up the 76-25 victory.
"It was a good team effort," Klein said. "I thought our younger players stepped in and did a very nice job. We got positive contributions from everyone."
Johnson led Devils Lake with 13 points. Schneider was right behind with 12 points. Ziegler also hit double figures with 10 points. Vetsch chipped in with nine points while Palmer had eight.
Mertens added six points while Brown, Barendt and Chiara Olson netted four. Heilman scored three points while Winjue had two. Kyleigh Toso rounded out the scoring with a point.
Devils Lake, now 4-8 in the EDC, hosts Fargo Shanley Friday at 5:45 p.m. On Saturday, the Firebirds travel to Fargo North for a 3:30 p.m. contest.
"Both are conference games that are very important for us. Fargo Shanley is a team that is scoring a lot of points. They shoot well from the outside and have big posts that will be tough to keep off the boards," Klein stated. "Fargo North is a team who has played teams tough. They also have good size. Like us, North has struggled scoring at times. The key will be to get out and push the ball. We will need to be able score in transition."