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EGF Senior High, Sacred Heart boys basketball teams led by unique scorers

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Jordan Tomkinson2 / 2

Twice this season, Sam Votava has reached 30 points in basketball games. East Grand Forks Senior High lost both games.

Jordan Tomkinson has is the second-highest assist average (2.5 apg) on Sacred Heart's boys basketball team. But that is number is dwarfed by his 21.7-point scoring average.

Votava for the 15-11 Green Wave and Tomkinson for the 22-4 Eagles are their team leaders. But each fills a different role as the East Grand Forks teams head into the postseason section tournaments.

Tomkinson's scoring average is actually down from a year ago, when he averaged 26.2 points, as the Eagles have developed more scoring depth. But the senior remains Sacred Heart's go-to scorer with his 3-point range and ability to score off the dribble.

"Jordan carries the scoring load,'' Eagles coach Destry Sterkel said. "When defenses zone in on him, he'll look to distribute. He's an underrated passer.

"But he's a score-first guard. We like him shooting the ball. When Jordan is hitting his shots, it makes (scoring) easier for everybody.''

Sacred Heart also has gotten consistent scoring from 6-foot-6 center Jack Gerber (14.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg) and Brenden Bethke (12.3 ppg). "We design our offense around those three, then we hope to fill the points in with our other kids,'' Sterkel said.

Votava is at his best when the freshman is filling up the stat sheet.

Votava leads the Wave in assists (6 apg), steals (4 spg) and rebounds (5.1 rpg) as well as scoring (14.3 ppg). He runs an offense that averages 72.1 points a game with a balanced look that includes Cole Anderson (13.8 ppg) and Julian Benson (12.8 ppg). In addition, long-range sharpshooter Nathan Willet was averaging 10.9 points before an injury ended his season.

Senior High coach Josh Perkerwicz said Votava could be a bigger scorer if he so chose.

"When Sam is getting the ball to everybody, when he's distributing, we're a better team,'' Perkerwicz said. "And he does a great job of doing that.

"He handles the ball and gets us into our offense. When he's not out there, we're a little nervous about our ballhandling. And he's our leading on-ball defender.''

The idea for the Wave is to play a fast-paced game, as they lack a strong inside presence. "We have to push the pace,'' Perkerwicz said. "I don't know if a lot of teams can play our game. It's organized chaos.''

Senior High hosts Bagley at 7 tonight in the opening round of the Section 8AA tournament. Sacred Heart plays Red Lake County in a Section 8A first-round game at 6 p.m. today at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls.

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