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Packers rally past Knights

Grand Forks Central girls basketball coach Jean Roise missed the first few seconds of the second half against West Fargo because she was a little under the weather.

Grand Forks Central girls basketball coach Jean Roise missed the first few seconds of the second half against West Fargo because she was a little under the weather.

The way the Knights played down the stretch Friday couldn't have made Roise feel a whole lot better.

Central was held to one field goal in the last five and a half minutes, while West Fargo scored three times in the final 90 seconds to complete a 48-44 come-from-behind victory over the Knights in the Central gymnasium.

"We led that whole game until the last minute or so," Roise said. "If we would have just grabbed a couple of those rebounds or hit a couple of those bunnies. . ."

Central lost its sixth straight and dropped to 1-9 overall and 1-6 in the East Region. West Fargo won its third in a row to improve to 5-6 overall and 5-3 in the East Region.

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Central guard Emily Gowan hit a pair of free throws to put the Knights up 44-42 with 1:54 left. The Packers responded with Jamie Green's offensive putback for a 44-all tie with 90 seconds to go.

After a Central turnover, West Fargo's Mary-Michael Vance hit a game-winning 12-foot jump shot from the left wing through traffic for a 46-44 Packer lead with 1:08 left.

"Vance has been out our last four games with illness," West Fargo coach Lynette Mund said. "She's a big leader for us."

Then to ice the victory, West Fargo's Sarah Denne put home a Sadie Doggett miss with 14 seconds left for the final margin.

"We had a slow start, but like I told the girls, Central is a much better team than its record shows," Mund said. "(The Knights) came to play. Right away, we were playing on our heels and not attacking the basket."

The Knights were doing the attacking in the first half. As a result, Central scored 13 of its 24 first-half points from the foul line. The aggressive attitude helped Central build a 24-14 lead with 2:52 left in the half.

Neither team shot well from the field in the first half. Central made 5 of 13 shots to go along with its 13 free throws. West Fargo, meanwhile, was 9-of-30, including 0-for-5 from three-point land.

West Fargo ended the first half on a 6-0 run. Emily Hartley connected on two short bank shots, followed by a JoJo Haerter basket in the lane to cut Central's halftime lead to 24-20.

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Balanced scoring paced West Fargo. Denne led the way with 10 points, followed by Vance with seven and Hartley and Whitney Adams each had six.

The Knights were led by Alexa Olson's 14 points. Kylee Renden chipped in 13 for Central.

"We have to try figure things out on offense," Roise said. "We didn't have anyone step up and take control. That has to do with confidence. Also, we didn't rebound. Rebounding is all about effort and focus."

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