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Tom Mix, Published March 14 2014

Shanley reaches ND Class A state girls basketball final

MINOT, N.D. – Two seasons of faltering in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A girls basketball state tournament was enough for Fargo Shanley.

The Deacons avoided a third year of being denied an opportunity to play in the championship game by defeating Fargo Davies 73-37 Friday at the Minot State Dome.

“It is unreal,” Shanley junior forward Alivia Fraase said of the victory. “I don’t think it will actually sink in for all of us until we put on our jerseys (today) that we will be playing for a championship.”

The No. 3-ranked Deacons play Minot at 6 p.m. today for the state title.

“This group is driven,” Fargo Shanley head coach Tim Jacobson said. “They wouldn’t have been satisfied if they didn’t get to the state championship game, but they also aren’t satisfied in just getting there either. There is one more game, and they know Minot is going to be a tough opponent.”

Shanley (22-2) seized control early by shooting 54.2 percent from the field (13-for-24), which included a 60 percent (6-for-10) effort from beyond the arc. The Deacons led 36-22 at halftime and started the second half on a 22-2 run that was capped off by a three-point play from sophomore forward Lauren Rotunda with 8 minutes, 13 seconds left.

Davies (17-7) experienced a scoring drought that lasted 8:56 during the second half.

“Shanley forced us to be tentative and not as aggressive as we would have liked to be on offense,” Davies head coach Tonah Safranski said. “Everything we did offensively seemed to be a struggle whether it was getting the ball up the court, passing or our inside and outside game.”

The game contrasted greatly from Shanley’s quarterfinals win against Jamestown – a game that the Deacons trailed the Blue Jays at halftime.

“We are an inexperienced team,” said Shanley sophomore guard Sarah Jacobson, who finished with 19 points. “The first game at state nerves are always up there, but I thought we got our legs under us in this game. We played our game like we are capable of playing it.”

Rotunda checked in with 13 points and junior guard Somer Bucholz added 10 points for the Deacons.

Shanley has a 6-2 all-time record in state title games, last winning a championship in 1997.

“I think if we play together and play confident, we are capable of anything,” Sarah Jacobson said.

It was the fourth time this season Shanley and the No. 5-ranked Eagles met. Shanley had defeated Davies in the previous three meetings.

“We knew we had to get to their inside and outside shooters,” said Fraase, who scored nine points and added six assists. “We had to close out hard and eliminate all their possible shots.”

The stingy defense prevented any Davies player from getting comfortable on offense including standout junior forward Alexis Klabo, who finished with eight points. Freshman forward Kylee Bergantine paced the Eagles with nine points, connecting on three 3-pointers.

The Eagles shot 24.4 percent from the field in the game. Davies plays Bismarck in the third-place game at 1:30 p.m. today.

DAVIES (17-7): Papachek 1 0-0 3, Bergantine 3 0-0 9, Kottsick 2 2-2 8, Klabo 2 4-4 8, Haugen 1 0-0 2, Olson 1 0-0 2, Malmanger 1 0-0 2, Erickson 0 3-4 4. Totals: 11-45 9-10 37.

SHANLEY (22-2): Day 2 1-2 5, Fraase 3 1-2 9, Jacobson 6 5-7 19, Erie 2 0-0 5, Dietz 1 0-0 2, Saville 0 2-2 2, Rotunda 5 1-1 13, Bucholz 3 4-4 10, Vetter 1 0-0 2, Weber 0 4-4 4, Bath 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24-44 18-22 73.

Halftime: S 36, D 22. 3-pointers: Papachek, Bergantine 3, Kottsick 2, Fraase 2, Jacobson 2, Erie, Rotunda 2. Total fouls: D 20, S 12. Fouled out: Kottsick. Rebounds: D 29 (Olson 5), S 28 (Fraase). Turnovers: D 23, S 15. Assists: D 9 (Kottsick, Klabo, Hildre 2), S 18 (Fraase 6).

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