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Mooseheart (14) Peter Kurowski and Moosehart (25) Kevin Gbadebo guard North Shore Country Day School (0) Jamie Swimmer in game action at NSCDS. Mooseheart plays North Shore Country Day School at 310 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, IL on Saturday afternoon 12-1
More than anything, Mooseheart boys basketball coach Ron Ahrens said he’s relieved this week is coming to a close.
After the IHSA board ruled at its nerve-wracking Monday meeting that the team’s three Sudanese students — Mangisto Deng, Makur Puou and Akim Nyang — could continue playing, the Red Ramblers earned a 57-42 win over North Shore in front of a capacity crowd Saturday.
“Now all of us can concentrate on basketball,” Ahrens said. “It was extremely hard on the kids, so we are happy they are able to play.”
Deng, who stands 6-foot-7, scored a team-best 17 points, and the 6-10 Puou added 14 points to carry the Red Ramblers on the road. The 7-1 Nyang contributed six points to the cause.
North Shore (3-6) took a 25-22 lead on senior guard Jamie Swimmer’s 3-pointer at the 4:44 mark of the second quarter, but it was all Mooseheart the rest of the half. Deng scored seven during a 15-0 run that ended with intermission.
The Red Ramblers, who held the Raiders scoreless for more than seven minutes over one stretch, went up 50-31 on Hameed Odunewu’s basket early in the fourth quarter before the Raiders rallied behind Austin Curren to make things interesting down the stretch. Curren, a senior forward, finished with 17 points.
“The difference was that streak they went on at the end of the first half,” North Shore senior forward Riley Hall said. “We stopped playing like a team. We were playing hard, but we weren’t playing smart.”
Hall said the Raiders were happy for the opportunity to play against the Sudanese trio.
“Definitely,” he said. “You always want a challenge like that.”