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BOYS BASKETBALL: Central wins, advances to quarterfinals

The Grand Forks Central Knights boys basketball team needed a win on Saturday or their season would end.

In a play-in game for the North Dakota East Region tournament, the Knights defeated Valley City 60-45 at the Central gymnasium behind 23 points from junior Jake Mussman — 19 coming in the second half.

With 10 minutes to go in the first half, Central’s Josh Schumer made two free throws to put the Knights up 10-9 — the first and only lead change of the game.

Following a Treion Davis runner to put the Knights up 23-15, Valley City’s Jared Lentz hit a three-pointer with 15 seconds left in the half making the score 23-18 at the break. Lentz led the Hi-Liners in scoring with 20 points for the game.

Both teams struggled from the field in the first half.

“It was your typical Saturday afternoon game,” said Grand Forks Central coach Dan Carlson. “It’s hard to get going sometimes. We had a tough time knocking down shots early.”

However, the Knights began to hit their open shots in the second half. Led by Mussman and Schumer (who scored 10 in the second half), the Knights went on a 14-2 run that covered the first 10 minutes of the half, extending the lead to 17 points.

“We put a good push on in the middle of the second half,” said Carlson. “At halftime we talked about just grinding it out. I thought we did a good job of creating tough shots for them throughout the game.”

With under six minutes to play, a Lentz layup brought the Hi-Liners back within 14, but Mussman answered with a layup to make the score 49-33. The Knights defense then forced a turnover on Valley City’s ensuing possession, which allowed Mussman a wide-open lane for a one-handed dunk.

Schumer finished with 15 points and Jake Wavra with nine to complement Mussman’s scoring.

“I thought they were both frustrated at halftime,” Carlson said of Mussman and Schumer. “We just talked about staying with it and turning it around. I thought they both did a great job of that … getting the shots they needed and not settling.”

 The Knights, the No. 7 seed in the East Region, will play at No. 2 Wahpeton on Tuesday.