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Barr sparks Golden Eagles to victory over Brandon Valley

Aberdeen Central’s Spencer Barr, center, puts up a shot as Brandon Valley’s Cole Dekker, right, gets a hand up during Saturday’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. In the foreground for the Lynx are Josh Olthoff (44) and Briggs Knutson (20). Photo by John Davis taken 1/21/2023

Aberdeen Central was staring at a nine-point halftime deficit Saturday afternoon before the Golden Eagles raised the Barr on Brandon Valley.

Senior Spencer Barr exploded for 28 second-half points to help power Central to a 68-57 Eastern South Dakota Conference boys’ basketball win at Golden Eagles Arena.

Barr made 9-of-11 shots from the field in the second half including four straight three-point field goals, added six free throws down the stretch and finished with a career-high 35 points.

“It’s as good of an individual performance as I’ve had a kid probably do, and we’ve had some good kids who did some really good things,” said Central coach Brent Norberg. “You talk about offensively just putting us on his back for a while.”

It started out with a three-pointer 35 seconds into the third quarter and just kept building from there. Barr’s fourth trey of the period came just before the final buzzer and gave Central its first lead of the game heading into the fourth quarter.

Turns out, Barr was just getting warmed up.

He then made five field goals in a row in the final quarter, despite constant pressure by the Lynx.

“They have great defenders. They’re whole team is just phenomenal,” Barr said. “It’s crazy. I’m kind of at a loss for words right now. It’s just a big game.”

With the score tied at 53-53, Jett Carlson put the Eagles ahead before Barr scored on a left-handed drive and then added two free throws to give Central a bit of breathing room. Barr then provided the closing dagger on a steal and fast-break layup with 44 seconds left.

In all, the Eagles outscored Brandon Valley by 20 points in the final 16 minutes.

“I think we just really got together and just fought,” Barr said. “We knew that we could win this game and we did. We pulled it out.”

A big factor in the game was Central’s ability to battle inside against the much taller Lynx. While Brandon Valley did damage in the lane for sure, the Lynx were unable to sustain consistent offense with the game on the line.

“We went zone for about a 7-8 minute stretch. That kind of helped us get them out of rhythm a little bit, made it a little harder for them to get it inside,” Norberg said. “We got our hands on a few balls, and they threw some away for us.”

Central was only outrebounded by just two in the contest and had twice as many blocked shots.

“You have to give those guys credit,” Norberg said of his interior players. “Grant (Fritz), Brian Johnson, Karson (Carda), just hung in there, and Jett Carlson, too.”

Aberdeen Central’s Grant Fritz, left, pulls down an offensive rebound as Brandon Valley’s Nate VandeBerg, right and Lukas Morgan, far right, look on during Saturday’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 1/21/2023

In the end, though, it was simply too much Spencer Barr for the Lynx to handle.

“I was feeling great today,” Barr said, trying to explaining his career day. “I don’t know what it was, but it was fun. It was a fun game.”

Carlson added 11 points to the Central total.

Norberg said his team’s effort has been good despite five straight losses, but the difference against Brandon Valley was that effort combined with execution.

“We’ve played hard before,” Norberg said, “but we were able to execute offensively and do things that were able to get us good looks and that really helped us.”

The Golden Eagles, 2-6 on the season, play host to Pierre on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Golden Eagles Arena.

Norberg wants to be able to build off the team’s performance against Brandon Valley.

“It’s always good to do this, but if you don’t build off it and play consistently, we’re looking for consistency,” Norberg said. “We don’t want to just say, well we beat Brandon Valley at home so now we’re just going to play. We have to continue to get better.”

BRANDON VALLEY (7-3): Landon Dulaney 2 2-2 8, Dylan Langerock 6 6-7 18, Lukas Morgan 3 3-4 9, Nate VandeBerg 0 0-2 0, Josh Olthoff 3 0-1 7, Cole Dekker 5 1-1 13, Jameson Kreutzfeldt 1 0-0 3. Totals 20-45 12-17 57.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL (2-6): Carter Dingman 1 1-2 3, Jett Carlson 4 0-0 11, Parker Lemer 1 3-4 6, Spencer Barr 11 8-8 35, Camden Fauth 2 0-0 5, Brian Johnson 1 0-0 2, Grant Fritz 3 0-1 6. Totals 23-47 12-16 68.

Brandon Valley 17 31 41 57

Aberdeen Central 12 22 43 68

3-point field goals – Dulaney 2, Dekker 2, Kreutzfeldt; Carlson 3, Lemer, Barr 5, Fauth. Total fouls – Brandon Valley 20; Aberdeen Central 18. Rebounds – Brandon Valley 28 (Langerock 6, Morgan 5, VandeBerg 5, Olthoff 5); Aberdeen Central 26 (Fritz 6, Lemer 5). Turnovers – Brandon Valley 20; Aberdeen Central 14. Assists – Brandon Valley 9 (Morgan 4); AberdeenCentral 6. Blocked shots – Brandon Valley 2; Aberdeen Central 4 (Fritz 3). Steals – Brandon Valley 8 (Langerock 3); Aberdeen Central 8 (Barr 3).

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