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45-10 run powers Red Devils to victory

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By Travis Jenkins

When Great Falls and Lamar faced off a few weeks ago, the game was close and competitive all the way to the end. When they met Friday it was close and competitive all the way to the end...of the first quarter.
After trading baskets back-and-forth in the opening few minutes, the Red Devils manhandled the Silver Foxes, beating them 86-43 in a game that wasn't even as close as the score would indicate.
Early on, Lamar was able to match Great Falls basket-for-basket. Nigel Simpson, Jamarcus Culp and Omar Dean scored four points apiece for the Red Devils, but Jaquan Brown kept his team in it by successfully driving to the basket for three field goals. In the late stages of the opening frame, the home team was clinging to a 12-11 lead. Great Falls managed a 4-0 spurt to end the quarter for a 16-11 advantage but the spurt wasn't over.
The Red Devils effectively ended the game in the second quarter. The team's ball movement was terrific, which set up numerous easy shot opportunities right under the basket. On top of that, Great Falls turned up the defensive pressure, forcing Lamar into turnovers which turned into more easy points in transition. Simpson connected on his team's first two three-pointers of the night and had an uncontested layup off a steal. Culp scored six points (all in the paint or at the line) and Dean converted four field goals, two of which came off of steals. At the other end, things seem to get worse for Lamar as the gap widened. The Silver Foxes started rushing their shots, settling for long jumpers and throwing the ball away. It was 45-19 at the break.
The Red Devils kept pouring it on in the third. Simpson went nuts, draining two threes and scoring 12 total points. Culp added eight points and two of his baskets came off offensive rebounds. At one point, the score reached 57-21, meaning that Great Falls had gone on a 45-10 run since late in the first quarter. The lead was 49 after three, but Coach John Smith emptied his bench in the fourth quarter.
Simpson scored 22 points, Culp 20 and Dean 12 in the victory. Smith said shot selection was a big part of the win.
"Late in the first we finally started getting transition baskets and easy-type stuff," Smith said.
Smith said his team's solid rebounding effort also played a crucial role in the win. The victory was a big one, as it moved the Red Devils to 4-1 in the region. Every other team in Region III has at least two region losses except for C.A. Johnson, who visited Great Falls last night in what amounted to a region title game.
The girls contest was also close early on, but Lamar pulled away for a 59-27 victory. The Lady Devils were down only one at the end of the first quarter at 11-10. Alexis Patterson hit two early treys to pace Great Falls. The shots stopped falling, though, and Lamar was able to consistently build on its lead the rest of the way.
Carrie Edwards led Great Falls with nine points. Morgan Lubojacky had eight points and did a good job on the boards. Joy McCullough added three.