Eagles stars depart with a victory
FARGO – Andrew Kozlowski and Tanner Kretchman have played basketball together since second grade. They brought Fargo Davies its first boys team state championship in school history and Wednesday they said goodbye to being high school teammates.
They went out the only way they know how, winning the North Dakota Lions All-Star basketball game with an 123-91 win for Class A over Class B at the Fargo Civic Center.
The game was tied 42-42 before Class A closed the first half on a 20-6 run – behind seven points from Kretchman during the spurt – and never trailed from there.
“It’s been a journey for sure,” Kozlowski said. “Me and Tanner have been playing together since we started playing basketball. It’s sad to see it all done, but it’s good to end it on a great note.”
Just as they had done with the Eagles this season, Kretchman and Kozlowski stole the show on Wednesday without anything flashy. The two drained 15 out of their 22 attempts from the field, including five of their nine attempts from beyond the 3-point line.
Kretchman finished with a team-high 21 points for Class A and Kozlowski was not far behind with 18. The jump shots may not have been dunks or spiraling layups, but they came quick and put a dagger in any hopes Class B had in making a comeback.
“We played just the way we love to play,” Kretchman said. “We love to get up and down and play that fast pace. It was a perfect ending to the career that we had."
The duo was close to not existing at all. Kozlowski played three sports all through eighth grade. He decided, entering high school, he was going to focus on one sport. Kozlowski decided to play with his friends, one of which was Kretchman.
“All my good buddies were playing basketball, so I decided to go with that,” Kozlowski said. “I was pretty good at football, but I decided to give that up and play with some friends and have a good high school career. You are going to have regrets in life, but I think I made the right decision. Finishing with a state championship, I think I went out on the right note.”
Kretchman was certainly glad Kozlowski picked basketball.
“He was so unselfish and he did everything for us,” Kretchman said. “He literally was in the stat sheet in every category. Obviously, we won a state championship together, so that is a bond you can’t break.”
Kozlowski is headed to North Dakota State, but his basketball career came to a close Wednesday.
“This is it for me,” Kozlowski said. “It’s weird. It hasn’t set in yet. I’m sure in a couple weeks it’ll be a sad moment, but it’s time to move on and go on with life.”
Kretchman’s college career is just beginning as he heads to Minnesota State Moorhead to play basketball.
“I’m excited just to take the next step forward,” Kretchman said. “It should be fun. Got a lot of work to do this summer, but I’m excited about it.”
Kozlowski won’t be on the court with him, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be there for Kretchman.
“He’s a great player,” Kozlowski said. “He’s a great decision maker. He’s great at finding guys in transition. We’ve all seen him get hot, and if he keeps playing his game, he’s going to have a great college career.”
A: Hutchins 3 3-3 10, Kretchman 9 1-2 21, Lloyd 4 4-4 14, Bartosh 2 4-6 9, Christensen 4 0-2 9, Kozlowski 6 3-4 18, Rudolph 3 3-5 9, Schafer 4 0-0 9, Schock 3 0-0 6, Weisbeck 6 2-2 14, Ferguson 2 0-0 4. Totals 46 20-28 123.
B: Braaten 5 7-11 17, Thielges 2 2-3 6, Smith 2 0-0 5, Fox 1 0-2 2, Bussman 4 3-3 11, Mund 2 2-2 6, Burns 0 1-2 1, Droog 12 0-1 24, Dick 1 1-3 3, Holte 3 10-11 16.Totals 32 26-38 91.
Halftime: A 62, B 48. 3-pointers: Hutchins 1, Kretchman 2, Lloyd 2, Bartosh 1, Christensen 1, Kozlowski 3, Schafer 1, Smith 1.Total fouls: A 24, B 20. Rebounds: A 57 (Schafer 9), B 44 (Holte and Braaten 8).