Fargo Davies cruises to second consecutive East Region girls basketball championship with win over Shanley
Fargo Davies, Fargo Shanley, Grand Forks Red River and Devils Lake earn trips to North Dakota Class A state girls basketball tournament
FARGO — Fargo Davies sealed up its second straight East Region girls basketball championship on Saturday with a 64-47 victory over Fargo Shanley at the Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
After battling through a tightly contested regular season that saw each of the top three seeds enter the region tournament with near-identical conference records, the Eagles left little doubt as they ran away with the conference championship game.
Davies will enter the state tournament as the East No. 1 seed and will play West No. 4 seed Jamestown in the quarterfinals at noon Friday, March 12, at the Bismarck Event Center. Shanley will be the East No. 2 seed and will play West No. 3 Bismarck Legacy in the quarterfinal nightcap at 7:30 p.m.
“This is a really big momentum booster for us,” Davies senior Ryleigh Wacha said. “We’re really excited about this win and we can’t wait to play in the state tournament.”
Davies entered the East Region tournament as the No. 3 seed behind No. 1 Grand Forks Red River and No. 2 Devils Lake. The top three teams entered the conference tournament with two EDC losses apiece and each team was 1-1 against the other two.
The Eagles won their rubber match over Devils Lake in the semifinals and Red River was upset by Shanley.
“(The region championship) was there for them to reach in and go get,” Davies coach Tonah Safranski said. “They did all the little things and made the toughness plays. Every possession mattered and they did all the little things to win the game.”
The Deacons opened the region championship with an 8-2 early lead behind six points from 6-foot-2 senior Mo Hakim and two by 6-4 junior Emily Srejma. The lead was short-lived. The Eagles went on an 11-2 run from there to go ahead 13-10 and never looked back.
Davies senior Ryleigh Wacha kicked off the run with a 3-pointer and capped it with a pair of free throws.
Wacha also jumpstarted a 12-4 Eagles run to close the first half and send them into the break with a 33-23 lead. Marissa Burian and Ashton Safranski each made a 3 in the run.
After scoring six points in the first two minutes, the Eagles limited Hakim to just 12 points the rest of the way to finish with 18. They tried to make it as difficult as possible for Shanley to get post-entry passes to their standout senior post. They sent help when she had the ball and doubled her sometimes even when she was off the ball.
“We knew (keeping the ball from getting inside) was going to be key,” Safranski said. “We knew it was going to take all five players on the court to dictate. We didn’t want Mo to be able to do whatever she wanted to do in the paint because she can do that. And we didn’t want their shooters to have wide-open shots. There’s a balance and we needed to find when we could go double and when we couldn’t, and the girls did a good job of mixing it up.”
Led by Hakim’s five boards, Shanley pulled in twice as many rebounds as Davies in the first half at 18-9. The Eagles were equally dominant inside after the break, outrebounding the Deacons 23-10. Davies finished with 32 boards to Shanley’s 28.
Grand Forks Red River 63, West Fargo Sheyenne 54
East Region No. 1 seed Grand Forks Red River rebounded from a semifinals upset with a state-qualifying victory over West Fargo Sheyenne on Saturday at the SHAC.
Red River enters the state tournament as the East No. 3 seed and will play West No. 2 seed Watford City at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Bismarck Event Center.
“Having to bounce back after Thursday, I thought they did a great job,” Red River coach Kent Ripplinger said. “We focused on what we do, we played a strong game, played good defense. We knew Sheyenne would bring their best game as anybody would when you’ve got one chance at a state tournament.”
The Mustangs put up a fight in the second half, pulling within one possession on multiple occasions, but the Riders’ defense and 3-point shooting kept them in front.
Sheyenne got within one point at 44-43 on a pair of Brenna Dick free throws, but the Riders went on a 13-2 run that featured three 3-pointers to extend their lead to 57-45. Alex Page made two from behind the arc in the run and Jasmine Sondrol capped it with a trey.
The Roughriders shot 52% from 3-point land, making 11 of 21 tries. They were 6-for-8 in the first half and 5-for-13 in the second. Page was 3-for-4, Kaylee Lancaster was 4-for-8 and Sondrol was 2-for-5.
Page led Red River with a game-high 22 points. She reached the 1,000 career points milestone with a 3 midway through the second half. Lancaster scored 14 and Sondrol added 12.
Devils Lake 76, West Fargo 64
Devils Lake played suffocating defense in the second half to fuel a win over West Fargo in an East Region state qualifier game.
After the Packers took a 37-35 lead a little over a minute into the second half, the Firebirds clamped down. They didn’t allow a West Fargo field goal for the next 7 minutes, 20 seconds as they went on an 18-1 run that left them with a 53-38 lead.
The Packers pulled within 10 points 60-50 after a Chloe Pfau 3-pointer with a little more than six minutes to go. But Devils Lake went on a 9-1 run from there and cruised across the finish line.
Jailyn Martinson led the Firebirds with 23 points, while Ramsey Brown scored 16, Malaya Barendt scored 14 and Rachel Dahlen scored 10. Brown surpassed the 1,000 career points milestone in the game.
Simon came up just shy of a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds for the Packers, while Pfau scored 16.
The Firebirds earned the East No. 4 seed and will play the West No. 1 Bismarck Century in the first round of the state tournament at 5 p.m. next Friday, March 12 at the Bismarck Event Center.