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Tom Mix, Published December 20 2012

Spartans top Bruins in EDC girls basketball

FARGO – The Fargo North girls basketball team treated head coach Derek Ouren to a win on his birthday.

Following the 57-37 Eastern Dakota Conference victory over Fargo South on Thursday at the Spartandome, the Spartans celebrated by singing happy birthday to Ouren and passing around cupcakes.

North (3-0, 2-0 EDC) used two 8-0 runs to help seal the win and ensure the celebration would be sweet.

“It seems like we have matured this year,” Ouren said. “Last year, we would have been in so many of these games where it is back and forth and not finish, but tonight we just found ourselves. … We played amazing defense. That allowed our offense to catch up.”

Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first half. The Spartans turned the ball over 13 times while the Bruins committed 12 turnovers in the opening 18 minutes.

The Spartans closed the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 21-18 lead at halftime.

North started the second half with another 8-0 run and extended its lead to

29-18 with 12 minutes, 49 seconds left in regulation.

“It just gave the kids a lot of confidence,” Ouren said of the two 8-0 bursts.

“They were doing well and it almost felt like we were waiting for something bad to happen. When they get on those runs, it just feeds the team, and you can see the confidence start to grow.”

South struggled to get its offense going in the second and didn’t score a field goal until Maddie Erickson converted a layup with 12:25 left to play.

North seemed to have an answer for every Bruins bucket in the second half. South (2-2, 1-2) never got within eight points of the Spartans in the second.

Senior Kira Larson scored 18 points to lead the Spartans. Like North, Larson took a while to get going offensively scoring just two points in the first half.

“We don’t start out very well,” said Larson, who also finished with eight rebounds. “The longer you play, the more you adjust to their defense.”

Junior Emma Bergeron added 16 points for the Spartans. North senior forward Sally Fischer also scored in double-digits finishing with 10 points.

South head coach Jason Smedshammer said North’s defense was very disruptive.

The drought to start the second half was too much for the Bruins to overcome.

“I don’t know the exact amount of minutes we went without scoring, but it felt like a long time,” Smedshammer said. “We played pretty well in the first half. We just could not get a basket at the start of the second half, and they pulled away from us.”

Freshman center Emily Stroup finished with 11 points and six blocked shots for the Bruins.

FS (2-2): Erickson 1 2-2 4, Bauer 0 0-1 0, Strandemo 3 0-0 7, Taber 5 0-2 10, May 0 1-2 1, Chakin 1 0-0 2, Friedt 1 0-0 2, Stroup 5 0-0 11. Totals: 16 3-7 37.

FN (3-0): Muellenberg 2 1-2 5, Dehne 0 0-1 0, Bergeron 8 0-0 16, Johnson 2 1-2 6, Larson 6 6-6 18, Fischer 2 6-7 10, Astrup 0 2-2 2. Totals: 20 16-20 57.

Halftime: FN 21, FS 18. 3-pointers: Johnson, Strandemo, Stroup. Total Fouls: FS 15, FN 12. Fouled out: Friedt. Rebounds: FS 23 (Erickson 6), FN 37 (Larson 8). Turnovers: FS 20, FN 19.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562