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Eric Peterson, Published March 08 2014

Fargo South, defending champ Deacons advance to state boys hoops tourney

FARGO – Reigning state champion Fargo Shanley will get the chance to defend its crown.

Junior forward Kelvin Caga scored 22 points to help fuel the Deacons to a 92-68 victory against West Fargo in an East Region boys basketball state-qualifying game Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena.

“It feels like it is a totally new team this year,” said Shanley senior Patrick Strom, the only returner who logged substantial playing time on last year’s Class A state title team. “It feels great to be able to make it to state again.”

The Deacons had a 3-8 start this season, but played better as of late, winning five of their past eight games en route to a berth in the state tournament.

The Deacons built a double-digit lead less than six minutes into the game against the Packers. Junior guard Spencer Jacobson fueled that early surge with eight points in the opening five minutes. Shanley took a 17-4 lead after junior forward Garang Garang drained a 3-pointer with 12 minutes, 52 seconds to play in the first half. The Packers never got closer than eight points after that strong Shanley start.

“We haven’t started very well in most games during the year,” Shanley head coach Shane Alderman said. “When we start well we seem to gain a little momentum.”

The Deacons were able to build that big early lead even though Strom, their leading scorer, didn’t score his first points until there were about four minutes to play until halftime. Jacobson, Caga and Garang combined for 28 points in the opening half.

The 6-foot Caga scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half to help Shanley maintain and extend its lead.

“He is such a physical presence for us,” Alderman said of Caga, who also grabbed five rebounds. “He’s just been kind of a man among boys out there for us.”

Garang finished with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Shanley, which shot 60 percent (34 of 56) from the field. Strom finished with 17 points, including 11 points in the second half.

“Winning (state) last year, we feel like we should be able to get back this year,” Strom said. “We have a chance to defend it now, and the rest of it is up to us.”

West Fargo didn’t qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2005, ending a string of eight consecutive trips.

WEST FARGO (12-10): Schock 8 5-6 21, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Sample 0 0-0 0, Idso 0 0-0 0, Collins 3 0-0 6, Holland 0 2-2 2, Sauvageau 4 0-0 10, A. Heisler 1 2-3 4, Pfau 2 2-2 6, Bonnema 1 1-1 3, Wohl 0 0-0 0, Eisenzimmer 3 1-2 8, Pistorius 0 0-0 0, Talley 0 0-0 0, B. Heisler 3 2-5 8. Totals 25-64 15-21 68.

SHANLEY (9-13): Jacobson 5 2-2 16, Montplaisir 0 0-0 0, Rotunda 1 0-2 2, Caga 8 5-6 22, Strom 6 2-3 17, Schott 3 2-2 8, Fort 2 1-2 5, Erholtz 2 0-0 4, Wolbaum 1 0-0 3, Leier 1 0-0 2, Garang 5 2-3 13, Dauenhauer 0 0-0 0. Totals 34-56 14-19 92.

Half: SH 46, WF 29. 3-point goals: Sauvageau 2, Eisenzimmer, Jacobson 4, Caga, Strom 3, Wolbaum, Garang. Total fouls: WF 20, SH 18. Fouled out: Caga. Rebounds: WF 29 (Schock 6, B. Heisler 6), SH 33 (Garang 10). Turnovers: WF 13, SH 15.

Fargo South 80, Grand Forks Red River 72

This was Colton Lloyd’s last chance to make a state tournament and the South senior didn’t let the opportunity pass.

Lloyd poured in a game-high 26 points to help lift the Bruins to victory in a state-qualifying game.

“It was pretty emotional,” said Lloyd, who has been a varsity regular for three seasons. “I remember thinking ‘I am not going to let this happen again.’”

The Bruins last made it to the state tournament in 2011 when Lloyd was a freshman and didn’t dress varsity. Senior forwards Zach Kellen and Drew Fahrman have also played varsity since their sophomore seasons.

“It’s pretty neat because three of these kids were basically starters as sophomores,” South head coach Mike Hendrickson said. “It was a goal to get there.”

South built a 16-point lead less than six minutes into the game before Red River came storming back. The Roughriders used a 21-2 run to turn that large early deficit into a lead. Senior guard Chad Bartosh capped that run with a 3-pointer that gave Red River a 33-30 lead with 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

“Most of our games this year started out (slow) so we weren’t going to get rattled,” Red River head coach Jason Gregory said. “The problem is you get pretty tired when you have to fight back against a (big) deficit.”

South took a 39-37 lead into halftime after Lloyd sank two fouls shots with one second to play in the opening half. The Bruins never trailed from that point. Red River tied the score once in the second half.

With South leading 50-49, Lloyd started a key 10-2 run with a jump shot in the middle of the lane. Senior guard Noah Poss capped the surge with two foul shots that gave the Bruins a 60-51 lead with 8:07 remaining.

“We let them back in it, but kept our composure,” Lloyd said. “That is March for you. Anything can happen.”

Red River was playing without senior starting forward Jake Robson, who missed close to half of the season with mono.

“We are about working as hard we can with the guys we got,” Gregory said. “We feel we have good basketball players. They work hard and they give us everything they had.”

SOUTH (14-8): Staigle 0 0-0 0, Green 0 0-0 0, Poss 6 2-2 16, Skiple 0 0-0 0, Kellen 3 0-0 6, Gardner 7 4-6 19, Fahrman 3 3-7 9, Rozelle 1 0-0 2, Lloyd 8 9-11 26. Totals 29-56 18-26 80.

RED RIVER (14-8): Dennis 3 1-1 9, Landowski 1 0-0 2, Harms 0 0-0 0, E. Hanson 0 0-0 0, Keplin 6 3-4 18, Bartosh 8 5-6 23, Kroke 1 0-0 2, B. Hanson 3 3-5 11, Straus 2 0-0 4, Enerson 2 0-0 4. Totals 26-57 12-16 72.

Half: FS 39, RR 37. 3-point goals: Poss 2, Gardner, Lloyd, Dennis, Keplin 3, Bartosh 2, B. Hanson 2. Total fouls: FS 15, RR 19. Rebounds: FS 35 (Gardner 9), RR 28 (Bartosh 8). Turnovers: FS 9, RR 12.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com