Sacred Heart outlasts East Grand Forks 77-67 in boys basketball

Zack Martin and Kobe Tomkinson both collect 22 points in the victory to move the Eagles to 2-0 on the year.

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Sacred Heart forward Kobe Tomkinson (35) drives the ball past East Grand Forks Senior High's Joseph Votava (5) in the first half of a boys basketball matchup at Sacred Heart School on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

East Grand Forks Sacred Heart jumped to an early lead against East Grand Forks and held that advantage for the rest of the game in the Eagles' 77-67 win over the Green Wave on Tuesday night.

Leading the way for the Eagles was Zack Martin and Kobe Tomkinson as the two contributed heavily to the early separation. They both put up 22 points and fought hard for their field goals inside the paint. Martin was able to grab seven rebounds and Tomkinson had two of his own.

It was Sam Gapp who really got the scoring going for Sacred Heart in the opening minutes. He hit three from behind the arch in quick succession which is where nine of his eventual 15 points came from.

“You have to get out to a hot start against EGF. That was just leadership over time. These guys have been playing a lot of basketball for a lot of years. So to get out to that hot start is exactly what we needed,” Sacred Heart coach Destry Sterkel said. “Then we were able to open things up and we got good looks.”


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Sacred Heart head boys basketball coach Destry Sterkel, center, celebrates an Eagles three-pointer during a home basketball game against the East Grand Forks Senior High Green Wave on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

After some adjustments, the Green Wave created momentum late in the first half and into the second half through their aggressive transition defense. Creating multiple turnovers, they found their way inside the paint for points.

“After we kind of settled down a little bit we realized we could start playing but we just didn’t do a very good job defensively tonight. Unfortunately, we have to hang our hats on that because we’re not very tall,” EGF coach Josh Perkerewicz said. “On those long rebounds, they were able to get some easy put-backs. We have to eliminate those.”

Clyde Anderson and Austin Rusling started that process with the former creating six points in the first half off turnovers. Rustling found his scoring touch in the second half with 10 of his 12 points coming in the back half.

Though the Eagles were able to hold their lead throughout the game, East Grand Forks did push to make it just a six-point deficit early in the second half with a 12-4 run.

“We knew they were going to be high intensity and high pressure. We’re going to have some bad turnovers and they’re going to get some easy buckets, but we just needed to stay poised. We write a bunch of stuff on the board every night, but tonight we just wrote ‘be poised, stay under control and play hard,’” Sterkel said.

Considering the Green Wave’s 88-45 victory over Kittson County, EGF was hoping to stay hot on offense. Despite putting up 67 points, Perkerewicz knows they could have accomplished more with the ball.

“We’re not really happy with the way our offense played. We got a lot of buckets in transition, but we have to do a better job of moving the basketball. We need a better half-court offense when the transition is not there and I don’t think we did a very good job of that tonight,” he said.


EGF Sacred Heart 77, East Grand Forks 67

Halftime: Sacred Heart 40, East Grand Forks 26

East Grand Forks -- Austin Rusling 12, Tanner Campos 17, Clyde Anderson 10, Joey Votava 6, Cooper Smith 9, Caleb Zejdlik 6

Sacred Heart -- Sam Gapp 15, Josiah Sundby 4, Ethan Arntson 9, Landen Denney 2, Zach Martin 22, Kobe Tomkinson 22

Digital Content Producer and Sports Reporter at the Grand Forks Herald since December of 2020. Maxwell can be contacted at
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