FARGO — Fargo Davies needed Owen Hektner and Latrel Davis’ best games to go blow-for-blow with Fargo North freshman Jeremiah Sem.
The Eagles seniors had huge second halves as they led their team to a 78-67 victory after trailing at halftime in the East Region boys basketball tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday at Davies High School.
Davis scored 20 points in the second half and Hektner scored 15 after the break. They fueled an Eagles comeback from a 37-34 halftime deficit to a double-digit victory.
The Eagles took the lead 48-45 with about 12 minutes to go on a Hektner 3-pointer and never trailed again. The go-ahead 3 came in the midst of a 20-6 Eagles run that ended with them ahead 61-49 and they kept the Spartans at arm’s-length from there.
“Having Latrel and Ian (Motschenbacher) back out of foul trouble in the second half helped us,” Hektner said. “We started to figure out their zone and I found some open spots to knock down some shots. Our defense stepped up, too. I think all of those things together helped us pull away.”
Hektner stuffed the box score with a team-high 26 points with 11 rebounds, four assists, five steals and three blocks. He was 10-for-19 from the floor and 6-for-13 from 3. Davis finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Senior post Jacob Prudhomme also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Eighth-grade guard Mason Klabo had 10 assists to go with five points.
“My shots just started to fall in the second half,” Davis said. “The ball was moving around a lot. That’s just our offense. We want to get the ball moving around and we just started making shots.”
Sem scored a game-high 30 points while being limited by an apparent knee injury midway through the second half. He scored 22 in the first half and six more before limping off the court with about nine minutes to go. He returned to the game a few minutes later but was still limping heavily and managed just one more basket.
Sem put a vast arsenal of offensive weapons on display as he fueled the Spartans to an early lead. He had a monster two-handed dunk on a breakaway early in the first half. He made four 3-pointers, including a couple with a crossover, step-back combo. He was consistent with a turnaround mid-range fadeaway jumper, and he had an assist from his back after diving for a loose ball.
The Spartans freshman went on a 9-0 run by himself to give North a 23-18 lead midway throughout the first half.
“Jeremiah Sem is an unbelievable player for a freshman,” Davies coach Bart Manson said. “We had our hands full. We tried some things in the second half to slow him down.
“What a player he is. He is a special player and he’ll be fun to watch in the EDC for the next three years and the rest of this year.”
Davies' senior duo set the tone early in the second frame. Hektner volleyball spiked a block on the Spartans’ first possession of the second half. Davis followed that up with a 3 from the corner to tie the game at 37.
Davis answered Sem’s dunk with a right-handed slam of his own to give the Eagles a 58-49 lead with 9:35 to go. He added another jam for good measure — this time with his left hand — to push his team ahead 71-60 down the stretch.
“That’s how we get turnt up,” Davis said. “We love the dunks. We love the energy that it brings to the gym. We for sure had to answer (the Sem dunk) to bring our energy back up since we were down at halftime.”
Fargo Davies will play No. 2 West Fargo in the East Region semifinals on Thursday. The Eagles split the season series against the Packers, falling 77-68 in the first meeting before beating them 105-101 in overtime in the second. West Fargo’s loss to Davies was just its second loss of the season after opening the year with 11 straight wins before falling to West Fargo Sheyenne on Jan. 30.
“(West Fargo) is a really good team, they’re really well coached and we’re looking forward to the challenge on Thursday night,” Manson said. “This year with everything being so goofy, we’ve got to go to their place to play, but good teams can win on the road. I’m expecting a good game.”
Half: Fargo North 37, Fargo Davies 34
FN: Sem 30, Loberg 11, Zeller 9, Manly 4, May 4, Carlson 2, Cody 2, Kallod 2.
FD: Hektner 26, Davis 22, Prudhomme 10, Klabo 5, Brown 5, Sauvageau 4, Motschenbacher 4, Witte 1, Froslie 1.