Century's Sipes, Amundson lead all-state first team
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.
Braeton Motschenbacher of Fargo Davies, Jake Kava of Fargo Shanley, Luke Lennon of West Fargo, Chandler Albertson of Minot and Mason Walters of Jamestown made the second team.
Sipes and Amundson, both University of Mary-Bismarck commits, are the first teammates to make the same first team since Fargo North's Tyler Koenig and Tommy Leikas did so in 2001-02.
"They've really dedicated themselves to putting in the time to take the next step as basketball players," Century head coach Darin Mattern said. "It's very rewarding when kids are willing to put in that time. That's one of the reasons they ended up being the players they were."
Sipes, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, averaged 15.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He shot 55 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range.
"He had so much flexibility and versatility on both ends of the floor," Mattern said. "We could play him inside, and we could bump him outside predicated on who was matched up with him. That's what made him a unique player."
Amundson, a 6-6 senior center, averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game and led the Western Dakota Association with 1.2 blocks per game. He shot 56 percent from the floor.
"He was the backbone for our team defense," Mattern said. "If we made a mistake, he was capable of clearing all of those up just with his presence on the backside. We left him on an island 1-on-1 this year, which is nice. That allowed us to put a lot of pressure on the other teams."
Westphal, a University of Jamestown commit, is Sheyenne's first player to make the all-state first team in the varsity program's four-year history. He led his Mustangs to their first East Region championship and Class A state championship game appearance. The 6-1 senior guard averaged 19.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He also shot 48 percent and 36 percent from 3-point range. Sheyenne head coach Tom Kirchoffner said Westphal set a new school record with 534 points scored in a season.
"He bought into the program, and now he just elevated the program with his play," Kirchoffner said. "He does an unbelievable job of attacking the rim and is an excellent shooter from outside. He's deadly from both spots."
Pistorius led the Eastern Dakota Conference with 22.9 points and 2.7 steals per game and added 5.3 rebounds and four assists a game. The 6-3 senior guard averaged 47 percent shooting and 32 percent from 3-point range. Pistorius, the Class A senior athlete of the year, broke West Fargo's school record for points scored in a season with 618.
"Joe is extremely competitive, and he's also highly intelligent so he understands the intricacies of the game of basketball better than many people. That's allowed him to do things other people can't do," Packers head coach Adam Palczewski said. "No one plays more than Joe Pistorius. The cost of playing and practicing when no one else was looking allows him to do a lot of things."
Steckler, a 6-4 senior forward and center, averaged 20.7 points, 8.4 rebounds (3.2 offensive rebounds) per game to go with 31 steals and nine blocks. Steckler, a University of North Dakota football commit, also set a school record by shooting 70.3 percent from the field this season.
"Ever since his freshman year, he's been determined to be the best and is always striving for more," Mandan head coach Brandon Schafer said. "I'm not surprised at all. I fully expected him to be one of the top players in the state by the type of player he is."
- A 6-foot-1 junior guard, Motschenbacher averaged 15.8 points and 3.1 assists per game and shot 46 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from 3-point range for Davies.
- A 6-foot-3 senior guard and forward, Kava averaged 20.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game for Shanley.
- A 6-foot-5 junior center, Lennon averaged 13.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 0.7 blocked shots per game. He shot 57.3 percent from the field.
- A 6-foot-2 senior guard, Albertson averaged 15.7 points, 3.1 assists and three rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent and 43.3 percent from 3-point range.
- A 6-foot-6 forward, Walters averaged 16.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, one steal and one block per game.