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North Border's Ayden Stainbrook scores 39 to beat Cavalier in postseason opener

Stainbrook hit seven 3-pointers and added three slam dunks in a 77-62 win.

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North Border's Ayden Stainbrook dunks the ball in the third quarter against Cavalier in the Region 2 boys tournament at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — North Border junior Ayden Stainbrook wasted no time warming up to the start of postseason play.

The 6-foot-4 forward scored a season-high 39 points with the help of seven 3-pointers and three dunks as the Eagles beat Cavalier 77-62 in the North Dakota Region 2 boys basketball tournament quarterfinals Monday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

"I felt like my defense was getting me started," said Stainbrook, whose previous season-high in points was 30. "My teammates were finding me, and the shots were going down tonight."

No. 2 seed North Border (19-2) now plays No. 3 Hillsboro-Central Valley in the region semifinals at approximately 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Eagles beat the Burros by 21 during the regular season.

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Cavalier's Brysen Cleem grabs a rebound from North Border's Grayson Ohmann in the fourth quarter Monday.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

With Cavalier lingering around in the final three minutes of the first half, Stainbrook had two dunks to push the lead and spark momentum.

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The first dunk came in a 2-on-1 situation off when Trenton Cosley forced a steal and started the fastbreak, which led to a lob to Stainbrook.

The next dunk came when Stainbrook was able to get behind the Tornadoes' defense in the fastbreak. His jam gave the Eagles a 30-24 lead with 3:04 left in the first half.

"That was fun, especially the two-foot dunk," said Stainbrook, who averages 21.2 points per game. "I've been working on that two-foot dunk. (Dunks) are momentum-getters. They're fun for the crowd and me and the team."

Moments later, Stainbrook stepped outside and hit a deep 3-pointer to nudge the lead to nine.

Stainbrook kept his foot on the gas for the Eagles to start the second half and was able to check out of the game with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead.

"It was great for (Stainbrook) to start the tournament that way," North Border coach Dan Moore said. "He rebounded. He had a couple of blocks ... he did everything."

Stainbrook wasn't the only Eagle to hit from the outside. Cosley racked up 20 points behind five 3-pointers.

Cavalier, meanwhile, landed three players in double figures. Sophomore Talan Devine had 17 points, while senior Ty Holmquist had 14 and senior Brysen Cleem had 10.

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North Border 77,
Cavalier 62
Halftime: North Border 40, Cavalier 27
Cavalier — Ty Holmquist 14, Coby Morden 4, Zack Anderson 6, Sterling Enerson 1, Talan Devine 17, Caden Demars 5, Brysen Cleem 10, Isaiah Lopez 5
North Border — Trenton Cosley 20, Joshua Zahania 3, Nickolas Carignan 1, Jaxen Johnson 7, Grant Cosley 4, Kyler Moore 3, Ayden Stainbrook 39

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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