Firebirds presses its way to win over Hi-Liners

Chris Harris, DLJ Sports
Devils Lake's Jes Mertens (white) fights for the ball with Valley City's Jadyn Dieterle after a steal attempt during the first half of a NDHSAA girls basketball game Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 in Devils Lake.

With two-time defending champion Bismarck Century’s 42-game losing streak getting snapped this past Thursday, Devils Lake had a chance to take over the top stop in the Class A girls basketball poll Monday, Jan. 20 with a victory over visiting Valley City.

The Firebirds jumped on the Hi-Liners quickly and charged their way to the 73-41 win from the Sports Center. The Firebirds, who are now one of two remaining unbeaten teams left in 1A, upped their record to 8-0.

“It was a good team effort. We came out ready to play I think,” said Firebirds head coach Justin Klein. “We executed real well in the press and took advantage of their weaknesses.”

The Firebirds opened the game on a 22-0 run, allowing the first Hi-Liner points from the free throw line by Peyton Pederson with 12 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first half. The Firebirds led by 26 at intermission, after Valley City managed just four made baskets over the first 18 minutes.

Valley City was forced into 36 turnovers and finished the game with just 12 made baskets.

Junior Jailyn Martinson scored 15 of her 17 points in the first half to lead 10 players who accounted for points for the Firebirds who should replace the Patriots for the No. 1 spot when the polls are released Wednesday. Senior Abby Johnson finished with 14 points , Ramsey Brown had nine and Laila Gourd scored eight off the bench.

The 32-point win was the largest for the Firebirds since their 36 point victory over Grand Forks Central back on Dec. 10 and comes after three games removed from a five point win over West Fargo Sheyenne.

"The last couple of games we’ve had some some slow starts where we had to battle back but this one was more like it was last year were we come out, jump on a team and take them out of the game early which I think was good,” Klein said.

Brooke Eggermont scored 14 points for the Hi-Liners (5-6, 4-5 Eastern Dakota Conference).

Chris Harris can be reached at

Valley City at Devils Lake box score

Valley City 22 19 — 41

Devils Lake 48 25 — 73

VALLEY CITY (5-6, 4-5)

Eggermont 14, Dieterle 12, Pederson 4, Hatcher 3, Noeske 3, Diegel 2, Peterson 2, Mathias 1, Murray 0, Ingstad 0, Govan 0. Totals 12 15-18 41.

DEVILS LAKE (8-0, 8-0)

Martinson 17, Johnson 14, Brown 9, L. Gourd 8, Mertens 7, Je. Frelich 6, Barendt 4, Wilhelmi 3, M. Gourd 3, Krogfoss 2, Ja. Frelich 0, Nelson 0. Totals 24 19-30 73.