Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.
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FARGO—For the fifth time in the past seven seasons, Bismarck Century's girls basketball team is headed to the North Dakota Class A championship game. The Patriots topped Bismarck St. Mary's 55-48 Friday, March 9, in the semifinals at North Dakota State's Scheels Center for a spot in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday. Century has lost in its last two appearances in the championship game. Junior guard and University of North Dakota commit Lilly Keplin has been part of both of those teams.
FARGO—With less than a minute to go in overtime, the ball was in the hands of West Fargo senior Joe Pistorius. The Class A quarterfinal matchup at North Dakota State's Scheels Center was tied. Earlier in the day Pistorius was named North Dakota's Gatorade Player of the Year. And in the final minutes of regulation his technical foul began a Jamestown comeback that had West Fargo eyeing defeat.
FARGO—Fargo Shanley had no answer for Mandan's big men in Thursday's North Dakota Class A boys basketball quarterfinal matchup at North Dakota State's Scheels Center. Behind 6-foot-6 Camren Steckler, his 6-4 twin brother, Trae Steckler, and 6-6 Elijah Klein, Mandan topped Shanley 68-53. Mandan coach Brandon Schafer had a puzzled look on his face when asked what game plan he would come up with if he faced the Steckler twins and Klein. He was happy he didn't have to answer that question.
FARGO—Lisbon senior Jordan Urbach almost didn't wrestle. When he was in eighth grade his older brother Dylan, who wrestles at North Dakota State, convinced him to try it, even though Jordan wanted to play basketball. Five years and five trips to the North Dakota Class B wrestling tournament later, Jordan was capping one of the most dominant seasons possible with a state title at 220 pounds at the Fargodome on Saturday.
FARGO—South Border co-head coach Josh Hoffman had a sly smile when he was asked a question he seemingly was waiting someone to ask. His unseeded Mustangs were behind him celebrating a North Dakota Class B dual championship on Friday, Feb. 16. Do seedings mean anything? "Obviously not," Hoffman said. "It's the state tournament. You got to show up, you got to wrestle, and that's what we did. We wrestled hard."
FARGO—Hillsboro-Central Valley was grasping onto a one-point lead over Hettinger-Scranton-Richardton in the North Dakota Class B state wrestling dual quarterfinals on Thursday at the Fargodome. It seemed as though Kaden Pastian was going to let that lead slip away with just a few weights remaining. The freshman trailed 4-1 in the third period at 152 pounds.
MOORHEAD, Minn.—There's a baffling calm to Will Borgen. His eyes do not widen when the moment gets bright. In fact, he doesn't blink. Those closest to the former Moorhead Spuds hockey standout and St. Cloud State defenseman don't know how to explain him. At a young age, Borgen would shrug his shoulders when his dad would try to convince him how cool it was that he just got a phone call from NHLer Matt Cullen telling him when to meet at the rink. He does the same now when his dad asks him if he talks to NHL hall of famer Chris Chelios on the phone a lot.
FARGO—South Dakota State's Mike Daum showed exactly why he was the men's basketball conference player of the year in the Summit League last season and why he's the favorite to repeat again this year. Daum took over midway through the second half to lead SDSU to an 87-80 win over North Dakota State in the conference opener for both teams Wednesday.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn.—On the outskirts of Detroit Lakes, the Johnson family made a dirt path through the woods to the nearest home, a quarter of a mile away. Seven-year-old Janaye Johnson and her younger brother, Davis, needed a way to get to the house of the boy who moved in a couple years previous. He was in the same grade as Janaye, which felt like a miracle to her, as she was in the market for someone to play with, and the market was slim in those parts.
FARGO—Marquise Bridges was recruited out of DeLaSalle High School of Minneapolis in 2014 to be a wide receiver for North Dakota State. And for good reason. He had 66 catches for 1,317 yards and 21 touchdowns in his senior season with the Islanders. On Tuesday, in NDSU's 55-13 semifinal win over Sam Houston State, Bridges got the first and second interceptions of his collegiate career. Giving up the wide receiver role last season and moving to cornerback as a freshman was tough for Bridges, but he did it for a shot to play.