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Grand Forks' Alex Page emerges to help Mayville State to program's first Sweet 16

Mar. 16—SALINA, Kan. — Mayville State didn't need to ask standout Jordan Zrust to completely carry the scoring load again Saturday.

This time, Grand Forks native Alex Page gave the Comets balance.

Page, who had five points a day earlier, scored 17 points, behind five 3-pointers, to help Mayville State to an 86-65 win over LSU Shreveport in the NAIA second round.

The Comets advance to the Sweet 16 in Sioux City, Iowa, for the first time in program history.

"There's only 16 teams remaining in Sioux City and we're fortunate to be one of them," Mayville State coach Dennis Hutter said. "Our guys showed up to really compete."

Mayville State won its 26th game of the season, a program record for wins in a season.

In the NAIA tournament's first round on Friday, Zrust scored 43 points.

Zrust had just two points at halftime against Shreveport before finishing a game-high 24 points.

Zrust finished 8-for-16 from the field, 0-for-4 from 3-point range and 8-for-8 from the foul line.

"When Jordan got going downhill, that got things open for us a bit more," Hutter said. "They started to extend. They were adjusting to create some things, then she took over."

Page, a former Red River athlete, wasn't the only area player to hit double figures against Shreveport.

Mackenzie Hughes of Thompson scored 18 points thanks to a 13-for-16 showing from the free-throw line.

Jes Mertens of Devils Lake registered a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Erin Walcker, a graduate student from Beulah, N.D., added 10 points on 3-for-3 shooting from 3-point range.

"We worked so hard to get to this spot, and it just proves how hard of work we've done," Zrust said.

The Comets led 45-35 at halftime and 64-53 after three quarters.

Shreveport cut the lead to single digits at 64-55 with a jumper by Kenyal Perry with 8:10 left in the fourth.

Zrust scored the game's next six points to push the lead back to 15.

"We don't have a team like this team in our league," Zrust said. "Adjusting to their bigs was our biggest difference. We did great with that. We had to mentally be there, knowing what we were doing.

"I'm so happy for our team. A lot of us contributed. We all contributed well. Everything opened up."