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Fargo South edges Grand Forks Central in girls basketball

Grand Forks Central was a game over .500 at 13-12 and a win shy of qualifying for the North Dakota Class A girls high school basketball tournament last season.

This season, the Knights are winless.

"We graduated our whole starting lineup and most of the scorers,'' senior Jessica Gillian said. "We knew it could be rough at first this season. We're still learning.''

The Knights dropped to 0-8 after falling 37-36 to visiting Fargo South on Tuesday. Anna Brakke's long two-point basket from the right wing broke a 35-35 tie with 1:23 left. Central got within one on a Haley Gereau free throw with 9.7 seconds left, but could get no closer.

Gillian called it the season's most frustrating loss.

"It's the closest game we've had,'' Gillian said. "It came down to the very end. A few shots didn't fall our way.''

Central coach D.J. Burris said Central's offense has been a work in progress.

"We knew it would be a tough start,'' Burris said. "We weren't sure who would score for us. We're starting to get an idea. But it's still a struggle at times trying to figure out what are good shots to take.

"We didn't execute a lot of stuff tonight. We probably missed 10 layups. If we had finished better around the basket, it would have been a different game. But the big thing was we had 30 turnovers.''

Both teams have struggled offensively this season, as 1-6 South entered the game with a 42.7-point scoring average and Central with a 40.6 average.

Central's defense held South scoreless for an 8:28 stretch in the second half as the Knights turned a 24-20 deficit into a 27-24 lead.

But South rallied behind its long-range shooting. The Bruins hit five baskets in the final 7:23—three treys and two long-range two-pointers. For the game, the Bruins were 7-of-13 on 3-point attempts.

"It felt like forever,'' South coach Jason Smedshammer said of the long scoreless run in the second half. "That's been one of our issues—we have good stretches, but some stretches where things don't go well.

"We're streaky (perimeter shooters). We had kids who stepped up and hit shots tonight. That was the difference.''

Adie Wagner had a game-high 13 points to lead the Bruins. Grace Gaustad had a double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Central, with Gillian adding nine points.