Firebirds win fourth game in 5-game stretch, beating North 67-41

Sam Herder
Mattea Vetsch makes a move past a Fargo North defender Friday in the second half. Vetsch scored 12 points in Devils Lake's 67-41 win.

By Sam Herder

Journal Sports Editor

Things are starting to click for the Devils Lake girls basketball team, and the results showed Friday. The Firebirds bounced Fargo North at home 67-41.

The Firebirds have now won four of their last five games to improve to 7-9 overall and 7-8 in the Eastern Dakota Conference.

“I thought it was good win for us at home to keep our momentum going,” Firebirds head coach Justin Klein said. “The kids played hard and it was a good team effort. I thought everyone contributed and I was able to get multiple kids in and give kids rest. We did a good job with the game plan. They executed better. They ran transition and broke the press.”

The Spartans, meanwhile, struggled against DL’s press as the game extended from baseline to baseline. Turnovers led to easy buckets for the Firebirds.

A quick 9-0 start set the tone for the game.

“We did that to them down there, but it wasn’t quite as effective,” Klein said. “We worked on it and watched film on it. Wahpeton did the same thing and they really struggled with handling the pressure. I thought we did a good job knowing where to cover and our rotations were a lot better.”

DL didn’t let up in a dominating first half. The Spartans didn’t get their 10th point until midway through the first half. They only scored six more in the half as the Firebirds built a 41-16 halftime lead.

The easy points in the paint in the first half led to open shots in the second, and DL began to knock them down.

Mikayla Wallace scored DL’s first eight points, six of which came from 3-pointers. Mattie Barendt hit a quick five points off the bench to follow and Devils Lake held its biggest lead of 56-24.

“We did a much better job moving the ball,” Klein said. “They found the open girl. I think (Emily) Schafer did a good job of getting other players involved a little more. Wallace shot the ball better in the second half. (Mattea) Vetsch attacked the hoop a lot more and did well on offense.”

Devils Lake has climbed back into sixth place in the EDC. Five regular season games remain for the Firebirds as teams begin to position for the EDC tournament.

“The kids probably feel a little more comfortable,” Klein said. “We’re playing with more energy and more intensity. Some of that could be because we’re playing full court. We’ve hit a stretch here where we’ve put things together.”