Belcourt hands Firebirds 96-93 OT setback

Ray Maloney, Sports

BELCOURT, N.D. — Ben Erickstad had the night every prep athlete dreams of as he went off for a career-high 43 points, but it wasn’t enough as Belcourt outscored Devils Lake 13-10 in the overtime session to come away with a 96-93 win on Tuesday.

The narrow setback prevented the Firebird from earning their first win of the season. Devils Lake is now 0-9 on the year after the narrow non-conference setback to the Braves.

“We were close ... just not quite there,” Devils Lake coach Josh Johnson said. “We played a lot better and we are starting to see us playing much better together as a team.”

Erickstad connected on 18 of 25 shots from the floor against the Braves and added seven of 10 foul shots to account for his scoring outburst.

His 43 points are just five short of the school record 48 points put up by Doyle Heisler in a game during the 1979-80 season.

He also pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds, including five on the offensive end, in Tuesday’s game.

Belcourt, which led 45-39 after the first half, was never able to shake away from the Firebirds. Devils Lake shot nearly 54 percent (15-28) from the floor in the first half and connected on 21 of 44 (.477) in the second half while outscoring the Braves 44-38 to force the overtime session.

Devils Lake had its chances to seal the game earlier, but the Firebirds were just 19 of 37 from the foul line in the game.

Nate Mertens and Jordan Snyder joined Erickstad in double figures. Mertens netted 23 points for the Firebirds, while Snyder chipped in with 15 points in his first extensive action since returning from a knee injury.

“(Snyder) is playing really well right now,” Johnson said. “He really makes things happen when he is on the floor.

“Hopefully, we can continue to see good things going forward,” the Devils Lake coach added.

JR Gunville led four Braves in double figures. He pumped in 41 points for Belcourt, which also got 17 points from Jacob Knife and 12 points from Charlie Larocque. Jared Lambert added 10 points.

Devils Lake travels to Fargo on Saturday to tangle with Fargo South. The Firebirds return to the Devils Lake Sports Center Tuesday to take on Grand Forks Red River.

Devils Lake (93): Ben Erickstad 43, Nate Mertens 23, Jordan Snyder 15, Ryan Brown 6, Chase Johnson 3, Connor Swiontek 3.

Belcourt (96): JR Gunville 41, Jacob Knife 17, Charlie Larocque 12, Jared Lambert 10, Kansas Ree 9, Kyrell Parisien 5, Royce Poitra 2.

Halftime: Belcourt 45-39