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Published January 09 2011

Deng's red-hot second half carries Fargo South past Shanley in boys basketball

Gabe Deng was on his way to a forgettable night when he heard Fargo South boys basketball coach Mike Hendrickson in his head.

“Coach told us big guys that we need to understand that no one is stronger than us,” said Deng, an athletic 6-foot-4 Bruins senior center. “I tried to post up, the team helped me out by getting me the ball. And I tried my best to finish it.”

Deng caught fire, scoring all 12 of his points in the second half to lift South to a 66-55 Eastern Dakota Conference victory against No. 3 Fargo Shanley at South High School.

The surprising Bruins, who have won 13 combined games the past two seasons, held a 28-25 halftime lead when Deng triggered an offensive explosion with his dominance in the paint.

Setting up on the low blocks, Deng used an array of slick moves to drill six shots.

He couldn’t be stopped.

The highlight of his handiwork was a wide-open two-handed dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.

“We struggled offensively and it led to us getting frustrated,” Shanley coach Leon Knodle said. “And we didn’t play well frustrated. We have to be more positive and we can’t let ourselves get down. … We have to handle ourselves better than that.”

Shanley forward A.J. Jacobson cut the Bruins lead to 43-39 with 9:36 remaining.

However, the Deacons shot 31 percent from the floor in the second half.

And Deng, and a couple of well-timed 3-pointers from Landon Poss, were enough to seal the win for South.

Shanley (5-2, 4-2) has lost two of its last three games.

South (5-3, 6-1) is in sole possession of first place in the EDC after previously unbeaten West Fargo’s 59-45 loss to Fargo North Saturday night.

“We saw in the ‘Hoopster’ book that we were picked eighth in state and fourth in the EDC,” Deng said. “We got mad about that. We said, ‘Let’s bring this home. Let’s prove everybody wrong.’”

SHANLEY: Rodenbiker 5 6-6 18, Montplaisir 0 1-2 1, Buth 2 0-0 4, Dunn 2 1-2 5, Jacobson 7 6-6 21, Webber 1 2-4 4, Strom 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 16-20 55.

SOUTH: Charles 0 2-2 2, Parker 4 1-2 11, Ernst 5 0-0 10, Deng 6 0-0 12, Okland 3 3-3 9, Nicklaus 2 0-0 4, Poss 2 0-0 6, Kazane 3 4-5 12. Totals: 25 10-13 66.

Halftime: FS 28, SH 25. 3-pointers: Rodenbiker 2, Jacobson, Parker 2, Poss 2, Kazane 2. Total fouls: SH 14, FS 21. Rebounds: SH 21 (Jacobson 7), FS 33 (Okland 8).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com