Grace Vonesh sparks Sacred Heart to win over East Grand Forks Senior High

Sacred Heart players cheer on Grace Vonesh after she made all four free throws late in the game against East Grand Forks Senior High. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

If Grace Vonesh had a choice, she’d rather see opponents playing zone defenses.

“It feels like it’s harder for me to get open against man-to-man,’’ Vonesh said.

On Tuesday, however, it was just the opposite for the Sacred Heart sophomore. When East Grand Forks Senior High switched from its zone defense to a man-to-man in the second half, Vonesh thrived in leading Sacred Heart to a 42-35 girls basketball win at the Senior High gymnasium.

Vonesh had a game-high 18 points. Fourteen of those came in the second half, when the Eagles outscored Senior High 26-18.

“When they switched to man-to-man, it seemed like they were more focused on some of our other players. I like that challenge,’’ Vonesh said.


The 5-foot-10 Vonesh doesn’t stray far from the basket. Her points were all on close-range field goals and free throws.

“Grace is very good at moving around the defense and getting to open areas,’’ Eagles coach Blake Karas said. “She relies on other girls to get her the ball. She’s good at finishing. She did a good job of letting our guards break down the defense, moving to open areas, catching and shooting.’’

The guards opened up the inside game early in the second half when Ivy Edwards hit a pair of 3-point shots and Macynn Bloom made another. Edwards’ first trey gave the Eagles the lead for good at 23-20.

While Vonesh was the big factor in the second half on offense, the Sacred Heart defense shut down Senior High for a long stretch.

After Chloe Torgerson hit a 3-pointer for a 20-16 lead to open second-half scoring, Senior High managed to score just once, on a Kadynn Melquist 3-pointer, on its next 18 possessions.

That stretch allowed Sacred Heart to turn the four-point deficit into a 31-23 lead.

“That was good defense,’’ Karas said. “We’ve held most of the teams’ scoring down that we’ve played. We played man-to-man the whole game. The girls cut off the perimeter and kept them from getting to the basket.’’

Senior High was still within 38-32 when Madison Manger hit a 3-pointer with three minutes remaining. The Wave forced turnovers on Sacred Heart’s next four possessions, but could convert those into only two points, on a Manger offensive rebound putback to pull within 38-34 with 1:18 left.


But Vonesh scored 18 seconds later on a pass from Bella Knudson and Maddi Mitzel hit a pair of free throws to ice the win.

“We just stood around,’’ Senior High coach Jay Frydenlund said. “It’s pretty easy to play defense when we’re not moving around. We didn’t play with a lot of effort or emotion.’’

Edwards added nine points for the Eagles.

Manger’s 10 points led Senior High, with Torgerson adding nine and Melquist eight.

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