Bragging rights for Benson
Julian Benson scored a win on the basketball court and at home Saturday.
The sophomore sparked a 17-4 run in the second half, leading East Grand Forks Senior High to a 68-59 boys basketball win at Grand Forks Central.
Benson finished with 13 points against the Knights. One of the Central assistant coaches is his stepfather, Justin Knowlton.
"That helps me get up for the game,'' Benson said. "There's maybe a little bragging rights at home.''
Central was holding a narrow 35-34 lead with 10:51 remaining after Jacob Ohnstad hit a pull-up jump shot from the wing.
But a basket and a 3-pointer by Colton Dauksavage gave the lead back to the Green Wave and started the decisive run. In the spurt, Benson scored eight, on a fast-break layup, a 3-pointer from the wing and a 3-point play on a drive through the lane and an off-balance finish for the layup.
"When Julian hit that three, it seemed like the game went to us,'' Senior High coach Josh Perkerwicz said. "We kept pushing, pushing, pushing the ball. I felt the pace of the game got to them. We played 10 guys. When you get on a run like that, we push the ball even harder.''
Benson has broken loose offensively of late. After coming up short of 10 points in each of the Wave's first three games, he scored in double figures for the seventh straight game to improve his average to 10 points a game.
"Julian's still more of a defensive guy,'' Perkerwicz said. "But when he looks to score, it takes pressure off other guys. He's become a little more aggressive offensively. He had scoring opportunities early in the year, but he wasn't looking for his shot.''
After Senior High took a 51-39 advantage with 7:08 remaining, it retained a lead of eight or more points the rest of the way, helped by three consecutive 3-point baskets by Nathan Willet.
Cole Anderson's 17 points led the balanced 6-4 Wave, who had seven players score six or more points.
"They (Wave) want to get into transition,'' Central coach Dan Carlson said. "For a good chunk of the game, I felt we did a good job of slowing them down. But in that (17-4) stretch, they were able to get out and go. That stretch really hurt us.
"Take away that little stretch where they imposed their will and it was a pretty even game.''
Debyn Johnson had 17 points and Ohnstad 11 for the 1-9 Knights, who were coming off their first win of the season, a 55-54 victory over Valley City on Friday.