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'A proud moment for me'; Manson family enjoys chance to play and coach in same tournament weekend

Bart is the head coach of the Davies boys basketball team while Alivia is wrapping up her senior season with Sheyenne.

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Bart Manson (right) walks his daughter Alivia out on her senior day at Sheyenne High School.

FARGO — Alivia Manson's life has almost always revolved around basketball. Even the day she was born was affected by a game.

"My dad almost missed my birth due to him coaching in the first round of the EDC," Alivia said. 

"Literally, born into it," her father, Bart said. 

It shouldn't come as a surprise, considering the Manson family is one of the sport's first families in North Dakota.

"It's how we used to vacation," Bart said. "We'd figure out what camps we were going to and we'd hope in the car and vacation there."

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Alivia was quick to follow in her dad's footsteps.

"Around seventh or eighth grade, that's when she started saying, 'I want to be good at this,'" Bart said.

"He's worked so hard keeping me where I am, putting me in programs, paying for stuff," Alivia remembered. "Even being my AAU coach, that takes a lot of your time."

One of the things Bart was sure to do was make sure Alivia never missed a chance to go with him to a state tournament.

"Every year, I always put her on as a manager so she could get a name badge," he said.

Once Alivia entered high school, chances to make those basketball memories became a little harder to find regularly.

Bart is in his twelfth season as the coach of the Davies boys basketball team, and Alivia is putting the finishing touches on her career at Sheyenne.

It means most of the time if she is playing, Bart is coaching his own team.

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"It was an adjustment at first, like my sophomore year he couldn't come to our conference game at Mandan because he had a game," Alivia said.

 They both know the other cares and wants to be there, which made things even tougher at times.

"I thought about that awhile back," Bart said. "Is this something that I want to continue to do is coach, or should I get out? Or should I go and help out over there?"

"It is hard because my dad is the person I look up to most, because we connect," Alivia said. We connect in a different way that no one else really does."

This season, though, the calendar has shifted in the Manson's favor, giving both father and daughter chances to be there for the other's biggest moments.

From Bart walking Alivia out on her senior day, to Alivia being on the floor when Bart celebrated his 400th career win.

"I'm really glad I could be there for that," she said.

"It was really fun, I really enjoyed that," Bart said.

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This weekend in Bismarck, Bart will get one more chance to take Alivia to the state tournament.

Only this time, he didn't have to get her the name badge.

Alivia's Mustangs earned their way into the state tournament, and despite a loss to Minot in the quarterfinals, it's a weekend they've dreamt of.

Daughter playing her state tournament game, dad coaching his own.

"It will be awesome and I'm so proud of him," Alivia said of her dad.

"I'll do this for a few more years, but that's how I'd like it to end for her," Bart said of his daughter earning a state tournament bid. "Seeing her get there will be a very proud moment for me."

Zach Staton joined WDAY as a sports reporter in 2018. He grew up in Salem, Virginia loving any sport he could play or watch. Staton graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in Communication Studies before getting his Master's in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with a Sports Communication Emphasis from Syracuse University.
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