Devils Lake Girls Basketball unable to overcome turnovers, loses 83-38 to (4) Fargo Davies

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – The Devils Lake Girls Basketball team had some reason for optimism heading into their Jan. 20 game against the (4) Fargo Davies Eagles. Having won each of their previous two contests (dating back to Dec. 30), the Firebirds, if anything else, had a sprinkle of momentum on their side as they took to the court against the fourth-ranked Class A team. 

However, there was one caveat. Dating back to Jan. 1, the Firebirds played in only one game (72-40 win against Fargo South on Jan. 8). While the Firebirds brought a relatively healthy roster to the court Thursday evening, they had to contend with a ranked team that also had a two-game winning streak in their back pocket.  

Sophomore guard Gabrielle McLaurin dribbles the ball against (4) Fargo Davies on Jan. 20.

A high-scoring Fargo Davies offense, combined with a touch of sound double-teams and rust on Devils Lake’s side of the coin, proved to be the latter’s undoing as they lost at Devils Lake Sportscenter, 83-38, Thursday evening. 

The Firebirds (4-4, 4-4) suffered their first home defeat of the new calendar year with the loss. The Firebirds have not beaten Fargo Davies at Devils Lake Sportscenter since Jan. 21, 2020 (91-76). Devils Lake’s 83 points allowed are the most given up through eight games this season (the previous season-high was 77 against West Fargo Sheyenne on Dec. 21). 

Rust on Devils Lake’s side of the ball did not take long to reveal itself as the Firebirds called a quick timeout after they started the game with two turnovers on back-to-back possessions. Sophomore guard Ashton Safranski for the Eagles capitalized on the turnover mistakes with a swift bucket to begin the scoring barrage. 

Senior center Rachel Dahlen prepares to shoot a free throw against (4) Fargo Davies on Jan. 20.

The turnover margin failed to sway in Devils Lake’s favor after the fact, either. Safranski, in conjunction with her 6’2” teammate in Maci Wheeldon, helped establish full-court pressure. Aggression from Safranski and Wheeldon’s end allowed the Eagles to set up traps and keep Devils Lake’s dribbles out of sync. This, in turn, helped the Eagles run up the stat sheet with layup after layup. Safranski and Wheeldon led the team with 15 and 14 points, respectively. 

“They [Fargo Davies] are a good team, Devils Lake head coach Justin Klein said after the game. “I will give them that. They are good, athletic, and do a lot of trapping and [have] a veteran team, for the most part. They have kids that have played in big games before, but I thought we looked totally off. We looked rusty. We looked out of shape. We looked like we only played one game this calendar year. We have to have a better effort. Kids have to have better effort moving forward, no matter if we have days off, have practice, back-to-back games, whatever.” 

After outscoring the Firebirds by 28 points during the first half (47-19), the Eagles continued to lean on their experience and pressure the Firebirds into unfavorable situations on both ends of the floor. The Eagles outscored the Firebirds by 15 points during the second half (34-19). 

The Eagles proved their worth within the Class A ranks with the convincing victory against his team. Moreover, the defeat helped establish a firm foundation for the Firebirds. 

“I think it is a good measuring tool on where we [Devils Lake] are at and what we have to work on,” Klein said. “I still say they [Fargo Davies] are the best team in the East…I knew it would be a tough game, but I guess I would have liked to see us actually compete. I feel like we did not even compete with them, and I felt like it was just there. I think we found some things out about our team, too, though, and we are inexperienced. We are young. Physically, we are pretty weak, and we have to do a better job trying to maneuver some things, be aggressive and play quicker to offset that stuff.” 

Senior center Rachel Dahlen led the team in points (10). Dahlen has now tallied double-digit points in seven consecutive games, dating back to Dec. 10. 

Contact John Crane via email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter @johncranesports)