Firebirds, Hi-Liners Split Weekend Doubleheader

by J. Reed Anderson, DLJ GM
Abby Heilman and Taylor Windjue trap Hi-Liner Lindsey Noeske.

Devils Lake basketball ended the year with a doubleheader in Valley City, against the Hi-Liners.It was a good crowd for a cold night, and the fans saw two good games, even though the Firebirds split the night with the Hi-Liners.

The boys had the first game, and the Hi-Liners shut down the typically fast-paced Firebird offense.They set a full court press that lasted from the beginning until the end of the game, and the Firebirds just couldn’t get their game running and gunning to the paint.

The Hi-Liners got their scoring in the first corner off the hot hand of Riley Miller, whose ten points in the first half sustained a Hi-Liner lead.Firebird Jagger Miller was doubled up all night, but managed ten first half points for the Firebirds.Josh Dahlen was getting to the lane for the Firebirds, but the bucket had a lid on it for Dahlen; shots did everything but fall through the bottom of the net.He did go three for four from the line the first half.

The Firebird defense kept the Hi-Liners out of the paint most of the half, but the Hi-Liners, with their press defense, were able to sustain their lead and extend it to eight points at one point.The Firebirds pulled within three twice, but ended the half down 34-29.

The Firebirds started started very strong coming into the second half, going on an eight to four run, with Leif Nelson bringing them within one from the arc.But the Hi-liners came back hard, going up by eight, 47-39, and maintaining a seven- to nine point lead for the rest of the half.

Fouls, even before the final minute hack-a-possession, were the edge for the Hi-Liners. They committed only three in the second half, but before the final minute the Firebirds already had the ‘Liners shooting in the bonus.Matthew Lyter picked up eight of his eleven game points from the line in the second half.

The final score was 68-59, Valley City Hi-Liners.

Hi-Liner Riley Miller led all scorers with twenty-two.Matthew Lyter had eleven.The Hi-Liners went 24-34 from the charity stripe.

The Firebirds were led by Jagger Miller with fourteen points, then Josh Dahlen with ten, and Leif Nelson with nine.The Firebirds went 7-13 from the foul line.

The second game of the doubleheader started out a very tight affair.The two teams exchanged threes to start the game and it stayed very even with the the exception of a Hi-Liner six-point lead, 24-18, that came from five forced turnovers.The Firebirds came back to 24-23, and with seconds left in the first half tied the game 27-27 on an Abby Johnson layup.

The second half began slowly and evenly, with the Firebirds taking a four-point lead, 31-27.Things did get a little uncertain for the Firebirds defensively when Kyleigh Toso picked up her third foul early.The Firebird lead was short lived when the the Hi-Liners tied it at 31.And then the game broke wide open for the Firebirds with Mattea Vetsch’s soft touch from the arc.

The Firebirds went on a 15-3 run by forcing the Hi-Liners to give up the ball.Firebird hands seemed to be in the middle of every Hi-Liner pass, deflecting the ball out of bounds or very often to another Firebird.Vetsch, Johnson, and Toso broke up passes everywhere, leading to Firebird one-on-one and two-on-one fastbreaks and Vetsch’s jumpers.

Toso picked up her fourth foul late in the game, but it didn’t prevent the Firebirds from going on a 34-13 tear, and about the 3:30 mark, Firebird starters started heading for the bench.It was just plain hustle for the Firebirds.They just out hustled the Hi-Liners.

The Firebirds won 68-44.

Firebird Mattea Vetsch led all scorers with twenty-four points.Abby Johnson was next highest with seventeen, and she also went 9-13 from the line.Overall the Firebirds were 16-32 from the line.

Taryn Dieterle led the Hi-Liners with twelve points, and Lexi Ondracek had ten.The Hi-liners were 10-15 from the line.