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Fargo Oak Grove survives late scare from Bulldogs

GRAND FORKS — With a 20-point lead and less than 13 minutes left to play, Kyle Card wasn’t wondering about when to empty the bench and send in the reserves.

The Fargo Oak Grove coach was looking at the finish line.

“I was thinking that clock can’t go fast enough,” Card said. “You get a big lead and worry that the kids will start to coast.”

When the clock did run down, Oak Grove hung on for dear life Thursday in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament. Flasher’s big finish came up just short as Oak Grove held on for a 67-65 win at Grand Forks’ Alerus Center.

“You have to give Flasher credit,” Card said. “They knocked down shots. We were playing good defense. They just kept hitting them.”

Oak Grove, ahead 14-10 at the first quarter break, expanded its lead to 34-19 at halftime. A 9-4 run to start the second half, capped by a Carter Kretchman 3-pointer from the left wing, made the score 43-23.

“We (built the lead) with our defense,” Card said. “We got some turnovers and were able to get out and run.”

Flasher went long distance to rally. The Bulldogs connected on seven 3-pointers in the final 12:38, A late 9-2 run — all on 3-point shots — pulled Flasher within 66-65 with 22 seconds when Peyton Gabrielson connected from the right wing.

Grovers turnover gave the ball back to Flasher with 16 seconds left. But Flasher was off the mark on another 3-point shot. A Christian Adams free throw gave the Grovers the final two-point advantage, and Flasher missed a long shot at the buzzer.

Facing a 20-point deficit, “we haven’t been in that situation a lot,” Flasher coach Brian Nieuwsma said. “But we starting getting some stops and hitting some shots. The guys fed off that.

“We have kids who can shoot. They were shooting with confidence.”

Jack Schmidt had 29 points to lead Flasher. Taylor Krenz added 15, hitting five 3-pointers, and Peyton Gabrielson scored 11.

Adams scored 20, Kretchman 17 and Austin Promersberger 11 to lead the Grovers.

“The last three times we were here, we lost in the first round,” Card said. “That was no fun. This time we’re moving on.”

Flasher 9 19 39 65

Oak Grove 14 34 54 67

F: Tanner Marion 2, Brandon Braun 6, Taylor Krenz 15, Peyton Gabrielson 11, Zack Schmidt 29, J.W. Froelich 2.

OG: Coulton Dangerfield 7, Austin Promersberger 11, Christian Adams 20, Isaac Olson 2, Carter Kretchman 17, Nick Card 10.