FARGO — A decade-long drought came to an end Saturday inside the Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. Fargo North used a second-half surge to earn its first state tournament appearance since 2011.
The sixth-seeded Spartans came from behind in the final four minutes to defeat fifth-seeded Fargo Shanley 62-58 in Saturday’s state-qualifying boys basketball game. Freshman Jeremiah Sem led the Spartans with 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half.
“It feels great. I just wanted to bring the seniors to state,” Sem said. “They’ve been talking to me about it, and it was their last year, so I wanted to bring them.”
Trailing by three (54-51) with 4:01 on the clock, Sem fueled a 10-0 run that dug North out of its hole and put them on top for good. Sem accounted for eight of those points with a putback, 3-pointer and charity buckets. North junior Luke Loberg capped the spurt on a pair of free throws.
“I wanted it really bad ... I was trying to do whatever to make my team win,” Sem said. “I got it done, I guess.”
Sem didn’t have the words to describe what the moment meant, but the grin that didn’t leave his face said it all.
Shanley tried to crawl its way back in the final 45 seconds, but it was too late. Seniors Braden DeKeyser and Emmet Kenney cut North’s lead with a pair of free throws and bucket off a rebound, but Sem cemented the lead with a closing free throw that set up the game-clinching score.
The Deacons used a stout defensive effort to grab a narrow 30-28 lead heading into the second half. Shanley won both regular-season meetings over North.