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Surrey boys edge Our Redeemer’s 52-47

Ryan Ladika/MDN Dalen Engg, right, led the Mustangs with 14 points in Surrey’s Tuesday night win.

On the heels of six comfortable victories since a Dec. 18 loss to Velva, the Surrey Mustangs boys’ basketball team survived a hard-fought test from the Our Redeemer’s Christian School Knights on the road, authoring a 52-47 victory Tuesday night.

The Mustangs’ (10-2) Tuesday win represented a bounce-back game from their Jan. 20 loss to Bishop Ryan, but between the two defeats Surrey had prevailed by an average of almost 24 points.

“It’s really important,” Mustangs head coach David Jackson said of the ability to grind out a close win. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, but what we did do is we rebounded on the offensive end, and we played tremendous defense which is becoming our cornerstone.”

Four different Knights (6-5) scorers, Noah Erickson, Kyle Drovdal, Zach Hendrickson and Coltan Francis, combined to produce the Knights’ first 10 points of the night on a 10-1 game-opening run.

The stretch saw three-point shots from the latter two, and the Our Redeemer’s defensive scheme limited Surrey to a single Dalen Engg free throw in the first four minutes of the opening quarter.

The Mustangs flipped the script on Our Redeemer’s through the end of the frame and into the second quarter, holding the Knights to just two made field goals and a free throw for 10:29 of gametime. Engg paced Surrey with four points in the first quarter and Lucas Vollmer ignited the Mustangs’ scoring in the second to aid Surrey to a 23-15 lead with 2:13 to play in the first half.

“Really it starts with Lucas Vollmer. He’s our defensive guy,” Jackson added. “He just gets up in their best player and he makes them struggle. When that happens, they’re taking bad shots and they’re taking quick shots. When a team’s frustrated, that means they’re not going to play good defense.”

Hendrickson was fouled on a three-point try moments later and drilled all three attempts from the charity stripe to bring the score to within five. Erickson and Hendrickson produced four more unanswered on the Knights’ offensive end, and Our Redeemer’s entered the locker room having closed its deficit to 23-22.

Dalen Engg put on a show in the opening minutes of the second half, scoring all eight points on an 8-4 Mustangs run through the first 4:34 of the third quarter. Francis and Jace Weekley spearheaded a 7-4 stretch in response, with the former’s buzzer-beating layup sending the Knights crowd into a frenzy.

Francis began a contentious fourth quarter the way he ended the third to bring Our Redeemer’s even with its visiting opponents at 35 points apiece, and Engg and William Mayo struck back with a three-point shot and a layup and made free throw after a foul, respectively, leading the Mustangs to a 43-37 lead.

The war of attrition wore on with seven Hendrickson points answered only by an Engg two-point shot, and again Our Redeemer’s narrowed the gap to 45-44 in the final two minutes of play.

Surrey’s defense stiffened, though, as the seconds ticked off the clock, surrendering only one more field goal the remainder of the game. A trio of free throws by Mayo and Jagger Dickman in the final minute did the Knights in, as Our Redeemer’s was unable to muster a last-second rally.

Engg led the Mustangs on the offensive end with 14 points, followed by 12 from Vollmer and 11 from Mayo. Hendrickson notched a game-high 18 in the loss and Francis scored 11 of his own. Surrey will look ahead to a home matchup with Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood Jan. 28, while the Knights will travel to Des Lacs-Burlington Jan. 28.

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