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Chris Murphy, Published December 05 2013

Oak Grove opens the season with a win over Hawley in boys basketball

FARGO – There was no conventional defense possible to stop Christian Adams on Thursday. The junior big man buried eight 3-pointers en route to 31 points to lead Fargo Oak Grove to an 80-72 win over Hawley (Minn.) in the home opener for the Grovers.

Fans should get used to it, because that’s the game plan for Oak Grove.

“He’s going to have to do that all year because a lot of teams are going to concentrate on (Carter) Kretchman, and Christian is very capable at putting the ball in the basket,” Oak Grove coach Kyle Card said. “We got a lot of weapons.”

The night belonged to Adams, but the free-throw line belonged to Kretchman. The Grovers sank 11 of their final 12 free throws to put the game away. Eight of those makes went to Kretchman, who felt right at home at the charity stripe in the final minutes.

“It’s just confidence,” said Kretchman, who finished with 20 points. “I wanted the ball in my hands at the end. It was a game of runs, but it looks like we got the best of them.”

The free-throw line was Kretchman’s, but there was nothing moving Adams from the 3-point line. Oak Grove outscored Hawley

24-6 in the first quarter, with Adams scoring 14 of those points, 12 of which came on 3-pointers.

“The guys really were driving and kicking it to me a lot, and I just had open looks,” Adams said. “We knew we were going to start out with a pretty solid team in Hawley, so this is a great way to start the season.”

Hawley (1-2) came right back in the second quarter, outscoring the Grovers 23-6 to pull within one at halftime. Dillon Omberg had six of his 14 points and Ben Steichen scored all six of his points during the second-quarter run for Hawley.

“You just run out of gas,” Kretchman said. “You come out so energized eventually your legs get tired and they make a run. You got to figure out how to make your run.”

Philip Teeples hit a layup to put Hawley up 31-30 to open the second half, but the Nuggets would never lead again. Oak Grove answered with a 24-8 run behind three 3-pointers from Adams and four of Nick Card’s nine points. Card also added 13 rebounds for the Grovers.

“We were ready for this,” Kyle Card said. “We had 13 practices for it. We came out with a lot of energy. Hawley is a good team and they made a run at us.”

Hawley ended the regular season last year ranked No. 2 in Class 2A in Minnesota, losing two games the entire season. They’ve already matched last season’s loss total, losing two of their first three to open the season. Ben Ellefson had 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead Hawley, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think we just have to stay positive and stay together,” Hawley coach Jed Carlson said. “We’ll fix this thing. We got their best shot tonight, and we came up short.”

If Adams’ has better shots than he had Thursday, he’ll be terrorizing North Dakota high schools next.

“You got to just tip your cap to him,” Carlson said. “Some of those, we were right there in front of him. You just have to smile and nod and say, ‘You were the better man tonight.’”

H (1-2): Leaf 2 2-2 6, Harms 1 0-0 3, Ellefson 10 2-2 23, Teeples 5 0-1 10, Regnier 1 4-6 6, Omberg 4 3-4 14, Steichen 3 0-1 6, Tusow 2 0-0 4. Totals 28 11-16 72.

O (1-0): Kretchman 5 8-8 20, Dangerfield 4 0-0 8, Card 4 1-3 9, Adams 11 1-3 31, Promersberger 2 2-3 6, Teigen 1 1-1 3, Richards 1 0-0 3. Totals. 28 10-15 80.

Halftime: O 30, H 29. 3-pointers: Adams 8, Kretchman 2, Richards 1, Omberg 3, Harms 1, Ellefson 1. Total fouls: O 15, H 21. Rebounds: H 33 (Ellefson 13), O 27 (Card 13).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548