Firebirds fail to overcome (4) Fargo Davies onslaught, falter 102-46

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Defense has been a work in progress for the Devils Lake Boys Basketball team, and their Jan. 20 contest against the (4) Fargo Davies Eagles was no different. Dating back to Dec. 21, the Firebirds dropped three straight games. To make matters worse, the defense was an unfinished project – the Firebirds allowed opponents to score 86 points on average during the three-game losing stretch.

Senior guard Ben Heilman (center, white) navigates the basketball against (4) Fargo Davies on Jan. 20.

Defense again proved to be a challenge for Devils Lake Thursday evening as the Firebirds fell to the Eagles, 102-46, on Jan. 20.

The Firebirds (2-7, 2-6) have now dropped each of their last four games, dating back to Dec. 21. The Firebirds have additionally allowed opponents to score 80 points or more in four straight games. The Eagles, meanwhile, have scored 80 points or more in five consecutive games, dating back to Dec. 21. Their 102 points scored are the most since Dec. 14, when they scored 106 against Valley City.

While the Firebirds wanted to work quickly and maintain pace in their favor through the opening portion of the game, Fargo Davies took control. Leading the way was freshman guard Mason Klabo, who grabbed two early field goals in the paint after the Firebirds chalked up possession of the ball in their own zone.

A few timely jumpers helped keep the Firebirds within reach through the first five minutes of play. However, a couple of mid-court miscues quickly shifted all momentum into Fargo Davies’ favor as they rebounded with an almost instantaneous double-digit lead.

Although the Firebirds looked to mitigate the Eagles from taking complete control of the situation, the latter inevitably vaulted ahead on a 12-4 run, which inevitably netted the Eagles a 50-24 halftime lead.

A significant gap in preparedness proved to be the difference-maker between keeping control and letting control slip away. To Devils Lake head coach Dustin Brodina, it came down to concise execution on Fargo Davies’ part.

Sophomore guard Wylee Delorme (center, white) drives to the basket against (4) Fargo Davies on Jan. 20.

“They [Fargo Davies] are that much better,” Brodina said after the game. They are that much more prepared than we were. We have to get better. We have to get better at all aspects of the basketball game. Little details we have to shore up on. They [Fargo Davies] are a well-oiled machine, and that is where we want to be, for sure.”

The Eagles continued their offensive onslaught with a 17-0 run through the opening five+ minutes of second-half action. The Firebirds failed to score a basket until the 10:30 mark in the second half, courtesy of sophomore forward Jackson Baeth.

Even still, the Eagles found a way to pick off Firebird dribbles and take baskets to the house via a slew of takeaways. The Eagles outscored the Firebirds by 30 points during the second half (52-22).

It will be up to the Firebirds to take their lessons against the fourth-ranked Eagles and utilize them to their advantage in future contests.

To Brodina, it starts and ends with effort.

“I don’t think they were that much more athletically better than us,” Brodina said. “I think we have athletic kids. They [Fargo Davies] executed, and we didn’t. I think their effort was better than ours, and we need to get our kids to that level, for sure. We need to get to that level of that effort. It is going to start with practice tomorrow.”

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