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Forum Communications, Published March 05 2010

East Region boys basketball: Devils Lake posts win over Central

Devils Lake coach Jason Bitz wanted his team to focus on the first five minutes of the second half and set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Firebirds responded. Devils Lake outscored Grand Forks Central 13-3 to open the second half en route to a win over the Knights in a loser-out game.

The run was highlighted by a three-point play by Nathan Mertens and a 3-pointer by Taylor Hoffart, who finished with a game-high 23 points.

“We did a good job defen-sively in that stretch,” Bitz said. “We did a good job pres-suring the ball and limiting them to one shot.”

Devils Lake post Dylan Ironheart completed a three-point play with 7:59 left to give the Firebirds their big-gest lead of the game at 69-48.

Central whittled the 21-point lead to as few as eight points with 33 seconds left. But Jacob Joramo knocked down four free throws down the stretch to ice it for the Firebirds.

The Knights were led by Brady Johnson’s 20 points, while Ben Lofgren chipped in 19.

“The guys could have rolled over, but they kept fighting, so I give them credit for that,” Central coach Dan Carlson said.

Half: DL 38, GFC 32.

DL: Hoffart 23, N. Mertens 14, T. Mertens 13, Erickstad 12, Joramo 9, Light 7, Ironheart 7, Crawford 1, Mason 1.

GFC: Johnson 20, Lofgren 19, Muz 12, Laji-modeire 6, Smith 6, Bushaw 6, Jaeger 5, Yearer 3, Parks 1.