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BOYS BASKETBALL: Red River falls in state-qualifying game

FARGO — This was Colton Lloyd’s last chance to make a state tournament and the Fargo South senior didn’t let the opportunity pass.

Lloyd poured in a game-high 26 points to help lift the Bruins to victory in a 90-82 state-qualifying game over Grand Forks Red River on Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena.

“It was pretty emotional,” said Lloyd, who has been a varsity regular for three seasons. “I remember thinking ‘I am not going to let this happen again.’”

The Bruins last made it to the state tournament in 2011 when Lloyd was a freshman and didn’t dress varsity. Senior forwards Zach Kellen and Drew Fahrman have also played varsity since their sophomore seasons.

“It’s pretty neat because three of these kids were basically starters as sophomores,” South head coach Mike Hendrickson said. “It was a goal to get there.”

South built a 16-point lead less than six minutes into the game before Red River came storming back. The Roughriders used a 21-2 run to turn that large early deficit into a lead. Senior guard Chad Bartosh capped that run with a 3-pointer that gave Red River a 33-30 lead with 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

“Most of our games this year started out (slow) so we weren’t going to get rattled,” Red River head coach Jason Gregory said. “The problem is you get pretty tired when you have to fight back against a (big) deficit.”

South took a 39-37 lead into halftime after Lloyd sank two fouls shots with one second to play in the opening half. The Bruins never trailed from that point. Red River tied the score once in the second half.

With South leading 50-49, Lloyd started a key 10-2 run with a jump shot in the middle of the lane. Senior guard Noah Poss capped the surge with two foul shots that gave the Bruins a 60-51 lead with 8:07 remaining.

“We let them back in it, but kept our composure,” Lloyd said. “That is March for you. Anything can happen.”

Red River was playing without senior starting forward Jake Robson, who missed close to half of the season with mono.

“We are about working as hard we can with the guys we got,” Gregory said. “We feel we have good basketball players. They work hard and they give us everything they had.”

In the other state-qualifying game, reigning state champion Fargo Shanley will get the chance to defend its crown.

Junior forward Kelvin Caga scored 22 points to help fuel the Deacons to a 92-68 victory against West Fargo.

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