The DGF Rebels advanced to the Section 8AA championship game with a 63-45 win over Barnesville on Wednesday night in Detroit Lakes. The Rebels (23-6) led 35-21 at the half and shot 44% (22-50) from the field. They were also 14-of-19 (73%) from the free throw line. Defensively, DGF held the Trojans to just 34% (15-44) shooting on the night and forced 16 turnovers. The Rebels took good care of the ball, turning it over only 5 times.
“Lost a tough one tonight,” said Barnesville Head Coach Matt Askegaard. “Tournament basketball is just a different animal. It is extremely difficult to totally change your style of play from one game to the next. On Monday we have to play the most disciplined style of basketball against a team like Perham and then two days later you have to morph and play a DGF team that centers their play a round a 2,000 point scorer.”
Tate Inniger just missed a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds to go along with 3 assists. Gannon Bolgrean finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, and Zach Bredman distributed 3 assists.
“Defensively, I thought we did a fine job,” noted Coach Askegaard. “Others may disagree, but we forced Leach into tough shots. We knew he would get his points, but where he really killed us was getting his teammates involved. But, that is what great players do. I think the 'gamers' of today call it a "cheat code". You get a kid as athletic as he is and that stands at 6'6", can play any position, and defend anyone, it makes it very difficult. Offensively, I did not think we would have struggled the way we did. However, this goes back to playing the most disciplined style of basketball, especially offensively, to now having more open shots every time down the floor. The indecision of when to and who should shoot comes into question and that makes it most difficult as a coach. We all know the ball has to get to certain players because they are better a scoring the basketball. However, as a coach, you don't want to tell a kid not to shoot the ball.”
Askegaard continued, “We got ourselves into a hole early and were never able to recover. Some might say, ‘the shots just didn't fall’ and that may be true, but DGF did a get job of forcing us or not allowing us to get easy baskets and that is what you want as a defense. They were a tough matchup for us all year and they had our number. We have to tip our hat to coach Mike Clark, his staff and players as they were the better team. We wish them the best of luck Friday against Thief River Falls and are rooting for them to represent the Heart O' Lakes at the State Tournament. We ended our season with a record of 18-9 and what a season it was. The sun will rise tomorrow, everyone will be in school, and a new chapter will begin. We have all grown and become better people because of the life skills this great game of basketball teaches us.”