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Tom Mix, Published December 07 2013

Bismarck St. Mary's tops Shanley in Class A boys basketball opener

FARGO – When the boys basketball teams from Bismarck St. Mary’s and Fargo Shanley meet on the court, offense is sure to follow.

Saturday afternoon was no exception.

Not as many points were scored in Saturday’s meeting as last season’s overtime thriller between the two schools in the North Dakota Class A state quarterfinals, but it was close.

St. Mary’s topped Shanley 93-84 at McCormick Gymnasium using a key scoring run during the final five minutes to seal the season-opening victory.

The Saints (1-0) and the Deacons (0-1) were tied

76-76 with 5 minutes, 33 seconds left after Shanley junior guard Spencer Jacobson got a layup to fall.

St. Mary’s answered with a 14-2 run fueled by seniors Darius Sparks and Ben Weisbeck.

“That was huge for us,” St. Mary’s head coach Brent De Kok said of the run. “It was great to see us respond like that, but for us to be successful we have to play well defensively and that just wasn’t there for us. We were disappointed with the defensive performance, but it’s great to see how we can answer when we get into some adversity, especially in the first game of the season.”

Weisbeck and Sparks each scored six points during the decisive run, which was too much for the Deacons to overcome.

“Defensively our rotations got a little fatigued late in the second half,” Shanley head coach Shane Alderman said. “St. Mary’s is a very experienced team and top to bottom its lineup is strong.”

“(St. Mary’s) is a team that knows what needs to be done in that situation,” added Shanley senior guard Patrick Strom, who finished with 29 points. “When we get behind, we don’t really know what to do yet, but that will all come with time.”

Weisbeck finished with 29 points and seven rebounds to lead the Saints. Sparks added 20 points and senior guard Ross Kopp finished with 25 points.

Shanley – the defending a Class A state champions – are sporting nearly an entire new varsity lineup aside from Strom.

“I was very proud of the guys,” Alderman said. “The last few weeks of practice we have been wondering about the question of who is going to step up for us? Most of our team hasn’t been tested at the varsity level, but I was very pleased with the effort. A lot of the players showed they can be play at the varsity level.”

Senior forward Chase Montplaisir added 12 points for the Deacons.

ST. MARY’S (1-0): Kopp 6 9-10 25, Nagel 2 0-0 5, Dvorak 1 0-0 3, Sparks 7 5-7 20, Weisbeck 12 3-4 29, Becker 1 0-0 2, Neff 4 0-0 8, Mastel 0 1-2 1. Totals: 33 18-23 93.

SHANLEY (0-1): Jacobson 8 0-1 16, Strom 8 9-12 29, Schott 3 0-1 6, Rotunda 1 1-2 3, Leier 1 0-0 2, Montplaisir 4 0-0 12, Garang 3 0-1 6, Wolbaum 2 3-5 7, Fort 0 3-4 3. Totals: 30 16-26 84.

Halftime: SM 43, S 41. 3-pointers: Strom 4, Montplaisir 4, Kopp 4, Nagel, Dvorak, Sparks, Weisbeck 2. Total fouls: S 22, SM 21. Fouled out: Dvorak. Rebounds: S 27 (Montplaisir 7), SM 31 (Nagel, Weisbeck 7). Turnovers: S 12, SM 10.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562