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Grafton holds off Sacred Heart in girls basketball

A 16-for-25 performance at the free-throw line wasn't up to what Grafton coach Laurie Sieben hoped her girls basketball team would be shooting. What the Spoilers lacked in consistency, however, they made up for with timeliness. Grafton made 3-of-...

Sacred Heart's Sydney Lloyd works the ball inside against Grafton Thursday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

A 16-for-25 performance at the free-throw line wasn't up to what Grafton coach Laurie Sieben hoped her girls basketball team would be shooting.

What the Spoilers lacked in consistency, however, they made up for with timeliness. Grafton made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 36 seconds to hold off Sacred Heart High School and claim a 69-68 road win Thursday.

"That's not good enough,'' Sieben said of the 64 percent free-throw accuracy. "But we hit free throws when we needed them. They pulled it together at the end.''

Sacred Heart was within 66-63 when Meredith Dumas hit a free throw to build the Grafton lead to four. After a Maddi Mitzel layup, Dumas hit two more free throws with 5.7 seconds left to ice the win. Sydney Lloyd banked in a trey as time expired for the final 1-point margin.

Free throws also were a problem for the Eagles, who were 16-of-27 from the line. "We've struggled with free throws,'' Sacred Heart coach Joann Remer said. "I'm not sure what the answer is. But it came back to bite us tonight.''

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Sacred Heart played catch-up the entire second half after Grafton closed the first half on an 11-5 spurt to build a 37-28 halftime lead.

Three times Grafton built a 14-point lead in the second half, the final time at 55-41 with 10:15 left. After Sacred Heart rallied to within 55-52, the Spoilers scored eight unanswered points for a 63-52 lead with 3:49 left, only to see Sacred Heart rally again.

"We had peaks and valleys,'' Sieben said. "At this time of the year, we're working to develop consistently. And we knew Sacred Heart wasn't going to back down.''

The Spoilers had two 7-0 runs and another 8-0 run in the second half. Each spurt included a 3-point basket. "If we get into rhythm, the girls are good shooters,'' Sieben said.

Carlee Sieben scored 19 points and Julia Dusek 17 to lead the 1-0 Spoilers.

Joann Remer said she felt Sacred Heart had momentum when back-to-back layups by Jessica Remer and Lloyd moved Sacred Heart within 64-61 with 1:52 left. Twice thereafter, Sacred Heart had a chance to tie, but missed a 3-point shot and turned the ball over on a travel on a fast break.

"We can't seem to finish,'' Joann Remer said. "But, for as young as we are (one senior, two juniors), we know it will take time.''

Lloyd scored 22 points and Jessica Remer 20 to pace the 0-2 Eagles.

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