In Grand Forks Central's last boys high school basketball game, Alex Barbot only attempted three field goals. He didn't score a point.
What a difference it was Thursday.
Barbot led a three-pronged attack as the Knights scored a 77-66 road win at Grand Forks Red River.
Barbot scored a career-high 24 points. Chris Demuth added 23 points and Mason Gravseth, with a strong post game, added a career-high 17 points to go with 11 rebounds.
"We needed to get Alex some shots,'' Central coach Dan Carlson said. "He's a good shooter. That was a big factor tonight. When he's hitting shots, that opens things up for other parts of our offense.''
Barbot was 8-of-11 overall from the field and deadly from long range, making 7-of-9 attempts on 3-point shots. And his scoring was timely for the Knights.
In the second half, Barbot hit a pair of treys in an 11-2 run as the Knights expanded their lead from two points to 57-46 with 6:31 left.
Red River whittled away at the lead. Six straight points-on a Bryce Enerson trey and a 3-point play by William Obioha-pulled the Roughriders within 62-58 with 3:24 left. But another Barbot 3-point basket highlighted a 6-0 run to increase the Knights' lead to 10.
"We knew if (Barbot) had open shots he'd hit them,'' Red River coach Kirby Krefting said. "His teammates created open shots and he knocked them down. That was huge.
"Any time we felt we had something going, it seemed like Barbot hit a three or Demuth was taking it to the basket for points.''
Said Carlson: "We were able to sustain a fairly consistent level of play so we were able to stop their runs.''
Central iced the win with 9-of-10 free-throw shooting in the final 1:17. The Knights finished 27-of-35 from the line.
"That's something we haven't been really great at,'' Carlson said. "That (free-throw shooting) gave us some breathing room.''
While Barbot, Demuth and Gravseth dominated the offense for the 2-7 Knights, Red River had more balance. Obioha and Cole Benson scored 14 apiece, Brady Dvorak added 13 and Enerson 11.
"We got beat at our own game,'' said Krefting, whose team dropped to 5-4. "Central set the tone. They pushed the tempo more than us. And that's what we like to do.''
Red River had a 25-21 edge in field goals. But that was offset by Central with its 3-point shooting (8-5 advantage) and free throws (27-11 advantage).