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Girls basketball: Eagles soar by No. 3 Grand Forks Red River in Class A semifinal rematch

Senior guard Marissa Burian tallies 22 off bench as Davies improves to 6-1, ends Roughriders' undefeated season

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Fargo Davies' Ava Wild struggles for the ball with Grand Forks Red River’s Rylie McQuillan during their girls basketball game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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FARGO — The game was postponed by a day due to Friday's weather system that shuttered metro area schools, but the Fargo Davies High School girls basketball team wasn't fazed a bit, neither by the delay nor by the stakes of its contest with Grand Forks Red River.

What stakes might come with a game in the middle of the regular season? The Eagles entered Saturday with a 5-1 record, while Class A's No. 3-ranked Roughriders were an undefeated 6-0 and looking to avenge their 65-58 loss to Davies in last season's state tournament semifinals.

While the score remained close for much of the first half, the Eagles used a 22-6 run in the waning minutes to pull ahead 50-27 at halftime, carrying that momentum into the second half en route to an 87-52 Eastern Dakota Conference victory.

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Fargo Davies' Ava Wild shoots on Grand Forks Red River during their girls basketball game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Davies found itself up just 27-21 at the beginning of the scoring run. It was senior guard Marissa Burian who took control at that point, notching 16 of those Eagles points down the stretch, including a buzzer-beating triple.

Burian finished with 22 points off the bench to lead the Davies scoring attack.

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"(Marissa) did a nice job of hitting shots, and I thought our girls did a nice job of finding her when she was hot," said Davies head coach Tonah Safranski. "That run towards the end of the first half was huge, especially right at the buzzer there when she hit that one to end the first half."

Safranski was also concerned about the Saturday afternoon start after being pushed from Friday, but any nerves quickly faded away.

"We had a storm day (Friday), so I was a little concerned with, if we're not practicing the day before a game or whatever," Safranski said, "but I thought the girls really came in focused and remembered what we talked about as far as game plan, and really came out and executed the game plan very well.

"I thought it was a great team game. I thought we had good balance and I thought our players did a nice job of finding the open player and making the extra pass to get their teammates the ball."

Burian finished 6 of 8 from 3-point range, showing why she's second in the EDC in 3-point field goals made, averaging 2.5 per game.

The Eagles had three other players finish in double figures. Senior guard Ashley Wacha finished with 17 points, followed by senior forward Ava Wild with 16 and sophomore guard Karley Franks with 13.

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Fargo Davies' Ashley Wacha shoots against Grand Forks Red River during their girls basketball game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Davies was also tasked with containing the EDC's assists leader and fourth-leading scorer, Red River sophomore guard Jocelyn Schiller.

Schiller proved hard to stop however, leading all scorers with 24 points and finishing with five assists.

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Davies finished 33 of 65 shooting for 51%, while Red River was just 19 of 57 for 33%. Both sides were near perfect at the free-throw line, with the Eagles going 9 of 10 and the Roughriders 7 of 8.

Davies finished with 34 rebounds, led by Burian and Wacha with six apiece. Red River picked up 26 boards, led by Schiller and junior guard Cassidy O'Halloran with five each.

Red River visits Devils Lake (4-3) on Tuesday with tipoff set for 5:45 p.m., while Davies visits Grand Forks Central (0-9) at 7:15 p.m.

"We'll just keep going one game at a time," Safranski said. "That's our philosophy on things and our next opponent is who we're worried about next and concerned about, and we'll go after it and try to just take it one game at a time and get ourselves prepared for each opponent every night and continue to play hard and have fun."

Half: FD 50, RR 27

RR: Schiller 24, O'Halloran 6, Litzinger 6, McQuillan 5, Ella 4, Alex 3, Barker 2, Hendrickson 2

FD: Marissa Burian 22, Wacha 17, Wild 16, Franks 13, A. Safranski 6, Wheeldon 4, Vettel 4, T. Safranski 3, Feldner 2

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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