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Tom Mix, Published March 03 2012

Wahpeton tops Fargo Davies for state berth in boys BB

FARGO – With the game tied and a trip to state on the line, Wahpeton had an idea of who it wanted taking the final shot on its last possession.

The Huskies put the ball in the hands of senior Jeremy Bontjes, who knocked down a jump shot with 5 seconds left in regulation, giving Wahpeton a 75-73 win over Fargo Davies in a state qualifier at the North Dakota East Region boys basketball tournament Saturday at the Bison

Bontjes’ shot helps the Huskies to their first berth in the state tournament since 2009. The Class A tournament is set for March 8-10 at the Fargodome.

With the game knotted at 73-all and 11.5 seconds left in regulation, Bontjes went to work.

“I think those were some of the longest 11 seconds of my life,” said Bontjes, who finished with 21 points. “I’m glad we pulled it off in the end. They set a ball screen up top, and I took a shot at the top of the key and it rattled in.”

The teams traded leads and baskets much of the second half. No. 4-ranked Wahpeton led 34-28 at halftime, but Davies turned it up on offense after the break.

“For us it was about making shots in the second half,” Fargo Davies head coach Bart Manson said. “Our kids made big shots at times and big plays at times and we’re proud of them for that. We were within 11 seconds of something going our way too at the end there. Bontjes made a heck of a play and made a tough shot.”

The Eagles trailed 69-66 when Wahpeton’s Zayne Medhaug netted a layup, but Davies’ sophomore Andrew Kozlowski connected for a 3-pointer to tie it up with 2:23 left.

“They’re a good team,” Bontjes said. “We knew they were going to make their run. We just knew we had to answer.”

Medhaug answered with another field goal. Davies’ Nathan Rasmus made two free throws after being fouled by Wahpeton’s Nate Pratt. Medhaug and Rasmus both exchanged field goals on their respective teams’ next possessions, setting the stage for Bontjes.

“He’s a gamer,” Wahpeton head coach Jeff Ralph said of Bontjes. “This is his fourth year of playing varsity basketball and he’s the one you want taking that shot.”

Kozlowski led all scorers with 23 points. Rasmus finished with 17 while Brady Jordahl and Mark Potter both added 11 points for Davies. The Eagles finish the year 13-9.

The Huskies, who lost their state qualifier to Fargo South last season, had five players score in double figures. Medhaug finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Carson Miller and Brandon Wetzel each added 11 points for No. 4-ranked Wahpeton (16-6). Pratt finished with 10 points.

The Huskies lost a close semifinal to Fargo Shanley on Friday, but Ralph said Saturday’s win helps achieve the team’s main objective in getting back to state.

“This has been their goal,” Ralph said. “We got blown out in the state-qualifying game against South last season and I think they’ve been looking at that since then. Our number one goal was to make it there, and I was so proud of the way we bounced back from (Friday).”

WAHPETON (16-6): Bontjes 8 3-6 21, Medhaug 6 0-1 12, Miller 4 0-0 11, Wetzel 3 2-2 11, Pratt 4 0-0 10, Irwin 2 1-2 6, Christensen 1 1-2 3, Holkup 0 1-2 1. Totals 28-59 8-15 75.

DAVIES (13-9): Kozlowski 7 6-9 23, Rasmus 4 9-12 17, Jordahl 5 1-2 11, Potter 3 2-2 11, Hendrickson 2 1-2 7, Siewert 1 0-0 2, Peterson 1 0-0 2. Totals 23-53 19-27 73.

Halftime: W 34, D 28. 3-pointers: Bontjes 2, Miller 3, Wetzel 3, Pratt 2, Irwin, Kozlowski 3, Potter 3, Hendrickson 2. Total fouls: W 20, D 14. Rebounds: W 28 (Medhaug 8), D 18 (Rasmus 7). Assists: W 12 (Bontjes 5), D 12 (Hendrickson, Siewert 3). Turnovers: W 5, D 6.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 451-5651