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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published March 15 2013

Bismarck tops Bismarck Century in Class A state boys BB semifinals

BISMARCK – For the second straight night, Bismarck Century took a lead with a late basket. Only this time, it wasn’t late enough.

Taylor Schafer, fouled while attempting a desperation 3-point shot, hit three straight free throws with three-tenths of a second on the clock. Those points gave Bismarck High a 40-39 win Friday in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A boys high school basketball tournament.

“It’s March Madness,” Bismarck coach Steve Miller said. “It’s never over until the buzzer goes off.”

Century, who won on Ben Holen’s last-second layup in a quarterfinal win over Grand Forks Red River, took a 39-37 lead with three seconds left Friday after Tyler Rudolph pulled up off the dribble and swished a 12-footer from the right.

On the ensuing inbounds, Ben Jolliffe – the quarterback on Bismarck’s state-champion football team – hit Dylan Werner at midcourt with an in-bounds pass. Werner made a quick pass to Schafer on the right sideline. He was fouled throwing up a shot.

“I was happy to be in that situation,” Schafer said. “All that pressure – I love it. I was a little nervous when I stepped to the line. But I hit the first one and I knew I’d make the other two.”

Schafer’s first shot was a swish. The second bounced on the rim and went in. The third was a swish, giving the Demons their first lead of the game.

And the 3-point shot? “It looked good when it left my hand,” Schafer said. “But I always think my shots are going in.”

“In 34 years of high school coaching, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that situation,” Miller said.

Bismarck fell behind early and played catch-up the entire game.

Century had leads of 10-2 and 20-13 in the first half, but the Demons pulled within 20-19 on a Schafer 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. In the second half, the Patriots’ biggest lead was 30-22.

Alex Quist drove the lane for a basket with 3:35 left for a 37-34 Patriots lead. But they would go scoreless until Rudolph’s basket with three seconds left. Bismarck, meanwhile, pulled even at 37 when Jolliffe hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:17 left. The Demons would go scoreless until Schafer’s three free throws.

“Our kids are fighters,” Miller said. “They aren’t going to quit when they get behind. And we both expected a game like this.

“It’s really hard when you see somebody play all winter like we do. The halfcourt offense is going to be a grind. But it was a good defensive effort.”

Schafer had 12 points and Troy Hausauer 11 to pace the Demons. Rudolph’s game-high 14 points led Century.

BISMARCK (16-8): Unruh 1 2-2 5, Schafer 3 4-5 12, Seibel 0 0-0 0, Jolliffe 2 2-2 8, Werner 1 0-0 2, Hausauer 3 3-5 11, Clairmont 0 2-2 2. Totals: 10-41 13-16 40.

CENTURY (17-7): Wegner 4 0-2 9, Hutchins 2 0-0 4, Feeney 0 2-2 2, Quist 2 0-0 4, Rudolph 6 2-2 14, Schatz 0 0-2 0, Holen 2 2-4 6, Walsh 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-44 6-12 39.

Halftime: Century 20, Bismarck 19. 3-point goals: Bismarck 7-19 (Unruh 1, Schafer 2, Jolliffe 2, Hausauer 2), Century 1-10 (Wegner 1). Total fouls: Bismarck 8, Century 10. Rebounds: Bismarck 29 (Hausauer 8, Schafer 6), Century 33 (Rudolph 9, Holen 7). Assists: Bismarck 7 (Schafer 4), Century 5 (Hutchins 2, Feeney 2).

Greg DeVillers is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald