Devils Lake only muster 14 made baskets in 57-46 loss to the Magicians.
In a high intensity game as Devils Lake played on Monday night, sometimes it’s hard to get up on the second night of a back-to-back. The Firebirds showed up against visiting Minot Tuesday night but wasn’t anywhere close to showing out.
The Firebirds lost to the Magicians 57-46 from the Sports Center.
“We knew going in we were going to try to keep those guys fresh,” said Firebirds head coach Derek Gathman. Gathman started five seniors Tuesday night, three of which aren’t part of his normal rotation.
“We wanted to mix up the rotation to try to keep the guys’ legs underneath them. … We have a lot of games still to go.”
The Firebirds, who defeated Red River the previous night in a Eastern Dakota Conference game that put them alone in fourth in the standings by going out in a fury, started more sloth like against Minot, being held scoreless over the six minutes of the game and had just four points nearly 10 minutes in. But Minot too struggled to score, only upping its advantage to 10 after two free throws by Alex Schimke with 2:47 left to go before halftime.
The Magicians (11-7) led by five at the break. There was a combined 37 points scored between the two teams during the first 18 minutes.
The scoring picked up in the second half and the Firebirds, who trailed through the first half, tied the game at 23 after a Grant Nelson basket with 15:17 remaining. However, Schimke’s 3-pointer on the ensuing possession regained the lead for the Magicians who never relinquished it. A Josh Dahlen 3 got Devils Lake (10-8) to within three at 40-37 but the Firebirds didn’t get any closer.
“I thought they played good defense and we struggled with the half-court pressure a little bit, adjusting to that stuff. I thought we got shots but we just didn’t make them,” Gathman said.
“Minot did a good job defending the post so we struggled to find good looks that way.”
Grant finished the game with 11 points, the only Firebird to score in double figures. Dahlen and Leif had eight points apiece. The Firebirds will close out their regular season home schedule Friday with a boys/girls double-header against West Fargo Sheyenne with the 5:45 tip. The Mustangs are tied for second in the EDC.
Schimke led all scorers with 18 points for Minot.
Chris Harris can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ
Minot at Devils Lake box score
Minot 21 36 — 57
Devils Lake 16 30 — 46
Schimke 18, Lentz 11, Larson 9, Martinez 8, Gunville 6, Johnson 3, Olson 2, Danelson 0, Schiele 0. Totals 17 17-29 57.
DEVILS LAKE (10-8)
G. Nelson 11, Dahlen 8, L. Nelson 8, Bjornson 4, Greene 4, Frelich 3, Widmer 3, Shepherd 3, Aanstad 2, F. Hanson 0, Zimmerman 0. Totals 14 15-28 46.