Top five games, performances and moments of 2015-16 coming this week

Sam Herder

And just like that, the 2015-16 Devils Lake and Lake Region State College athletic seasons are over. The fall season went quickly into the winter season, which felt even quicker even though the Sports Center hosted no more than 1,000 basketball games in a four-month span. Spring came (late) and went, wrapping up a year filled with standout individual and team accomplishments.

The sports scene slows down in the summer, which doesn’t bode too well for a community newspaper’s sports section. So, to extend local coverage another week, I decided to do a three-part series looking back at the year in sports.

The 2015-16 top five games will be in Tuesday’s paper, followed by top five performances and then top five moments on Thursday.

Two important guidelines for these lists should be kept in mind: (1) I came up with the list with the order being voted on through Twitter and (2) only DL and LRSC teams will be featured.

Yes, the Four Winds-Minnewaukan boys basketball team winning state was the biggest story in the Lake Region. But if the list is extended out to the Indians, then all region teams should be included. If that was the case, then yes, the North Star girls basketball team’s dominant run to the state tournament would also make an appearance somewhere.

But to look at all region teams and sports to try and find standout games and performances I didn’t cover without missing any is unrealistic. And getting out to all those games is even more unrealistic.

(If it’s any consolation, the Four Winds-Minnewaukan boys basketball team probably would have had four worthy games to make the top five games list.)

So we narrow it down to the Journal’s primary coverage teams: the Firebirds and Royals.

While there were many great games, performances and moments on the road, all but two on these lists came at home. For the most part, only home games or road games the Journal covered were considered.

The top five games list is pretty self-explanatory, but several things are taken into consideration. Atmosphere, stipulations, drama, key plays and memorable finishes all play into if a game makes the top five.

Top performances has simple criteria. It’s individuals who stood out on the statsheet, broke records or were key in leading their team to victory.

Top five moments is a bit more vague, but it boils down to what stands out the most when people look back at the 2015-16 sports calendar. Unforgettable plays, finishes and accomplishments are all considered on this list.

It’s been enjoyable to go back and look through articles, photos and statsheets in the last year. I had a blast in my first year of covering the Firebirds and Royals. There was no shortage of memorable games, performances and moments, and I hope I was able to capture those for the next day’s newspaper.

If I did a mediocre job, well, hopefully these lists make up for it.

Feedback is always encouraged. I’m sure I missed out on something. Each category had a tight race for the No. 5 spot, but feel free to email me at with any games, performances or moments you think deserved to make the list.