Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter.
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FARGO—Bismarck Century finally won its first state championship since 2011. And for the first time in 16 years, the Patriots have two players on the North Dakota Class A boys basketball all-state first team. Century's Josh Sipes and Kade Amundson both made this year's Class A first team as selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. West Fargo's Joe Pistorius, West Fargo Sheyenne's Zach Westphal and Mandan's Trae Steckler also were named to the first team. Pistorius and Steckler were also on last year's second team.
FARGO—West Fargo Sheyenne's historic run is at an end. Kemal Hajric wasn't shy about it. He was in pain. He injured his ankle in the state semifinals, but wasn't going to be held from playing with his fellow Mustangs in the program's first state championship. He limped in the starting lineups, and he limped to get his participation trophy after the game. But with his career over, he'll better remember his teammates and the run to get there.
FARGO—The four-year history of the rivalry between West Fargo and West Fargo Sheyenne has seen plenty of exhilarating contests. But none were with higher stakes than Friday, March 9. Beating the Packers for the second time this season was going to be a tall order, but Sheyenne's Christian Kuntz said nobody believed in his team anway. Kuntz and the Mustangs wanted to prove themselves, and for the first time ever, the Mustangs are going to the state championship.
FARGO—Last season, Mandan lost in the state semifinals to Bismarck Legacy. The Sabers, in the program's second season, went on to win the program's first state championship over Fargo Shanley. Mandan got its revenge and beat Legacy 64-59 in the North Dakota Class A girls basketball state semifinals on Friday, March 9, at North Dakota State's Scheels Center. "I knew we had to dive after and hustle for every ball," said Mandan's Megan Zander. "Every possession matters when it gets close at the end of the game."
FARGO—West Fargo Sheyenne looked like it would be on the wrong side of history. The Mustangs were on their way to being the first No. 1 seed in the state tournament to lose in the opening round since Bismarck St. Mary's in 2013.
FARGO—Josh Sipes of Century High School in Bismarck has been to state tournaments before. He still gets nervous before games but looked poised as his team relied on him early and often during the North Dakota Class A boys basketball state quarterfinals on Thursday, March 8, at North Dakota State University's Scheels Center. Sipes recorded a double-double with game highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds as he paced West Region No. 1 seed Bismarck Century to a 68-44 win over East Region No. 4 seed Grand Forks Red River.
GRAND FORKS—Grand Forks crushed the dreams of West Fargo a year ago. And for a few minutes, the United seemed like they might have their state championship dreams taken away again. But it wouldn't happen this time around. The No. 3-seeded United were ready to respond and rolled to a 4-1 win over No. 6-seeded Grand Forks in the North Dakota girls hockey state quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Olympic Arena.
GRAND FORKS—Bismarck didn't have to worry much about defense in the North Dakota girls hockey state quarterfinals. The Blizzard dominated the offensive zone and controlled the puck for so long they weren't even in their defensive zone for long anyway. The No. 2-seeded Blizzard controlled the puck and allowed just one shot on goal as they shut out No. 7-seeded Dickinson 3-0 on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Olympic Arena. "That was crazy," all-West Region defenseman Taylor Lenertz said. "We worked well down low and played as a team."
GRAND FORKS—Sydney Peterson clanked her hockey stick against the goal posts more times than she actually had to defend it. In one of the biggest games of her high school career, Peterson was getting bored. But Peterson was thrilled when her Fargo Davies girls hockey teammates shouted in exuberance and swarmed her after they advanced to the state semifinals.
GRAND FORKS—Fargo North-South's girls hockey players had their hearts broken around this time a year ago. North-South's high octane offense was stymied by lower-seeded Mandan in an overtime loss in the first round of the state tournament. North-South's Graysen Myers wasn't scared of drawing Mandan again at all. She wanted the chance to get even. Top-seeded North-South scored eight goals in the first two periods on its way to an 11-2 win over No. 8-seeded Mandan in the North Dakota state quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Olympic Arena.