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Tom Mix, Published March 13 2014

Senior guards propel Davies to state boys win

MINOT, N.D. – Fargo Davies seniors Tanner Kretchman and Andrew Kozlowski each called the other’s performance Thursday night phenomenal.

Both standout guards shined in the Eagles’ 91-82 victory over Minot in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class A state boys basketball tournament at the Minot State Dome.

Kretchman scored 45 points – a new opening-round game record – and Kozlowski finished with a double-double, pouring in 27 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

“Tanner is always a player we can count on,” Kozlowski said. “He is our best player on the court, and he showed it (Thursday night).”

Kretchman may have been the one who set a record, but Kozlowski was the one who got Davies’ offense clicking early. Kozlowski scored 23 points in the first half shooting 9 of 13 from the field including three 3-pointers in the opening five minutes.

“Andrew got us going right away,” Davies head coach Bart Manson said.

Davies (21-2) advances to play in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Minot State Dome. Minot (16-7) plays at 2 p.m. Friday in the consolation semifinals at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

The Eagles led 48-37 at halftime and after the break Kretchman took his turn as the igniter on offense. Kretchman scored 28 points in the second half and finished his night 15-for-20 from the field.

“It would be crazy for me to say I’m surprised because I’m not,” Manson said of Kretchman’s effort. “I know Tanner can, at any moment, do the things he did (Thursday).”

The previous opening-round game scoring record was 40 points shared by Jeff Boschee of Valley City vs. Minot (1998) and Reed Monson of Grand Forks Red River vs. Minot (1969). Kretchman was two points shy of tying the tournament record (47) in any round.

Davies assistant coach Gene Manson – Bart’s father – coached the Minot team that Boschee scored 40 against.

“They both are special players and special performances,” Gene Manson said of Kretchman and Boschee. “Jeff shot the ball extremely well, and so does Tanner.”

Minot rallied during the second half, pulling to within three points, 83-80, with just under a minute left to play.

Kretchman connected for four free throws in the final minute and following the win he placed the team accomplishment ahead of his own.

“I’m just so glad we got the win,” said Kretchman, who also had nine assists in the game. “We knew they were not going to roll over in the second half. It was good that we showed toughness at the end. We hit some lulls in the second half, but we were able to pick it up.”

Kozlowski re-energized the No. 2-ranked Eagles with a slam dunk off a steal from Minot point guard Dakota Halvorson with 4 minutes, 48 seconds left. The dunk gave Davies an 82-70 lead.

“It was a fun play,” Kozlowski said. “It is always fun to get the crowd going and it was a good game changer.”

The No. 5-ranked Magicians entered the game with only one loss in Minot this season.

“We could have folded,” Bart Manson said. “This is their town, their home crowd, their place. It really was a road game for us. They battled back, but we hung tough and I think a lot of that can be attributed to our senior leadership.”

Nick Soltis connected for seven 3-pointers for the Magicians and finished with 23 points. Halvorson added 21 points and nine assists to pace Minot.

MINOT (16-7): Bolinske 1 0-4 3, Bosh 2 5-6 10, Soltis 8 0-0 23, Seidman 3 1-2 9, Halvorson 6 6-6 21, Lund 4 0-1 8, Holmen 1 0-0 2, Hustad 3 0-1 6. Totals: 28-67 12-20 82.

DAVIES (21-2): Kretchman 15 10-13 45, Berg 1 3-4 5, Schultz 1 0-0 2, Kozlowski 11 2-5 27, Bates 4 0-0 8, Geffre 0 2-2 2, Feeney 0 2-4 2. Totals: 32-52 19-28 91.

Halftime: D 48, M 37. 3-pointers: Kretchman 5, Kozlowski 3, Soltis 7, Boliske, Bosh, Seideman 2 , Halvorson 3. Total fouls: M 19, D 14. Fouled out: Berg, Halvorson. Rebounds: M 31 (Hustad 10), D 38 (Kozlowski 14). Turnovers: M 11, D 17. Assists: M 19 (Halvorson 9), D 17 (Kretchman 9).


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562