It was a tale of two halves Thursday evening as the Grand Forks Red River boys basketball team hosted Devils Lake in EDC action.

It was a tale of two halves Thursday evening as the Grand Forks Red River boys basketball team hosted Devils Lake in EDC action. The two teams battled in back-and-forth, defensive dominated action in the first half.

It was a different story in the final 16 minutes as a 23-6 run to start the half was huge for the Firebirds. Behind an aggressive press, the Roughriders did their best to battle back. The come-from-behind effort was not enough as the away team earned the 63-55 victory.

With the win, Devils Lake improves 3-3 in the conference and 3-4 overall. Meanwhile, the Roughriders are now 4-2 in the EDC and 4-3 overall.

The Firebirds came out hot after halftime. A jumper by Preston Reierson and back-to-back buckets by Jacob Mertens gave the team a five-point advantage early in the stanza.

After key defensive stops including rebounds by Fee and Patrick Bracken, Devils Lake stayed at work on offense. A three by Mertens and soon after another shot from behind the arc by Dahlen made the score 41-30 in favor of the Firebirds.

The offense continued to click midway through the second half for the guests on the scoreboard. A three-point play by Mertens and a turnaround jumper by Free gave Devils Lake a commanding 50-35 lead with five minutes remaining.

Red River, however, made an impressive push late in the game chipping away at its opponent's lead. Baskets by senior guards Cody Robertson and Mark Toe helped cut into Devils Lake's advantage.

After steals on inbound plays by the Roughriders, Garett Eken and Robertson nailed threes to get as close as six points.
Free throws by Mertens and Reierson helped Devils Lake seal the 63-55 conference triumph.

Leading the way for Devils Lake was Mertens. The senior perimeter player led all scorers with 29 points. Dahlen was the other Firebird in double digits adding 12 points. Nik Desai and Fee added seven points apiece. Bracken and Reierson rounded out the scoring with four points each.

Outside shooting was key for Devils Lake as the team nailed seven shots from long distance. Mertens finished with four threes while Dahlen had two and Desai added one.

The Firebirds will be back in action against Valley City Tuesday at home. Tipoff is set for 5:45 p.m.