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Fargo Oak Grove tops Linton-HMB

FNS Photo by John Stennes Fargo Oak Grove’s Christian Adams, left, looks for a teammate as he is pressured by Linton-HMB’s Ryan Schneider during a semifinal game at the North Dakota Class B boys state tournament on Friday in Grand Forks.

GRAND FORKS — A day earlier, Fargo Oak Grove nearly let a 20-point lead slip away.

On Friday night, the Grovers grabbed a lead late in the third quarter and — this time — finished strong. It was a finish that advanced Oak Grove the brink of a state championship.

Christian Adams scored 29 points while Carter Kretchman added 18 to lift Oak Grove to a 76-68 win against Linton-HMB in the semifinals of the North Dakota state Class B boys basketball tournament at the Alerus Center.

Oak Grove will play undefeated and top ranked Rugby for tonight’s championship. The Grovers will be seeking their third state Class B title, and first since 2000.

In its quarterfinal win against Flasher on Thursday, the Grovers nearly lost a 20-point second-half lead. But they hung on for a two-point win.

Against Linton-HMB, the Grovers took control of a back-and-forth game with an 11-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters.

“Nothing is going to be easy and we showed that last night,” Oak Grove coach Kyle Card said. “But we stepped up tonight and made some plays.”

Adams and Kretchman made the most plays.

Linton led 48-46 with 2:14 to play in the third quarter. But Kretchman ignited the run with a basket at 1:46.

Colton Dangerfield closed the run with 6:32 to play and that left the Grovers with a 57-48 lead.

Oak Grove didn’t change its style once it got the lead. The Grovers like to run and they were in high gear in the fourth quarter.

“We want to keep running,” Card said. “We have the luxury with a big guy (Nick Card) getting rebounds, driving down the floor himself and that gets open shots for other guys.”

Card finished with 11 points but he also pulled down 19 rebounds, recorded three assists and blocked two shots.

“We didn’t get here because one guy led us,” the Oak Grove coach said. “Christian had a big game; Carter hit a big 3-pointer for us and Nick grabbed every rebound possible.”

There were 11 lead changes before the Grovers went on their decisive run.

Linton-HMB was led by Johnathon Purintum’s 19 points. Ryan Schneider added 15 and Austin Bernhardt 10.

The Lions, however, were hindered by 38 percent shooting compared to Oak Grove’s 50 percent.

“They did a great job of taking away our penetration,” Linton-HMB coach Dan Carr said. “We did a terrible job of being patient and dealing with it. And they were more physical than we were.”

Oak Grove advances to tonight’s title game with a 25-2 record.

Linton-HMB 15 32 48 68

Oak Grove 18 34 53 76

LHMB: Brooks Flyberg 9, Austin Bernhardt 10, Andrew Small 6, James Schmaltz 2, Jonathon Purintun 19, Erik Holzer 7, Ryan Schneider 15.

OG: Coulton Dangerfield 8, Christian Adams 29, Carter Kretchman 18, Nick Card 11, Isaac Olson 3, Austin Promersberger 7.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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