Packers boys basketball comes back in OT thriller to top Jamestown in state quarterfinals


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.

"I lost us a chance to win the game, so once we got another chance, I knew I had to go out there and prove myself that I'm not going to do that ever again and I need to come back from that and not show weakness," Pistorius said. "I'm not weak. I came out stronger in the overtime."

Pistorius drove and sank a floater to put West Fargo up by two points with 41.3 seconds in overtime. On the other end, West Fargo senior Abdi Sufi swatted away Boden Skunberg's shot that would have tied the game. Sufi rebounded Pistorius' miss on a fastbreak on the other end and sank a layup to push the lead to four en route to an 85-81 win for the Packers.

"It was definitely a team effort," said Pistorius, who finished with 29 points. "Everybody put in their part. Bench put in their part. I got to give the ball to these guys. They made up for my mistakes."

The game was seemingly over in regulation. West Fargo was up six on Jamestown with less than two minutes remaining and streaking down the floor was Pistorius. The ball was knocked away, Pistorius said something to the official and got called for a technical foul.

West Fargo watched a 73-67 lead with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining turn into a 75-73 Jamestown lead with 8 seconds remaining behind two technical-foul free throws, a three-point play for John Horgan, a fadeaway from Mason Walters and a free throw.

West Fargo's Tanner Zepeda sprinted down the court, was trapped underneath the basket, but found Luke Lennon wide open for a layup at the buzzer to tie the game and send it to overtime. The game was tied four times before Pistorius found redemption and Sufi's hand found Jamestown's shot attempt.

"Game's not over until the horn blows," said Sufi, who finished with 22 points. "We just kept playing until the horn blew."

It'll be an all West Fargo semifinal. West Fargo will play archrival West Fargo Sheyenne at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at North Dakota State's Scheels Center.

WF (22-3): Pistorius 13 2-4 29, Sufi 10 0-1 22, Lennon 6 0-1 12, Zepeda 4 0-1 8, Liebl 3 0-0 8, Mertz 1 0-0 3, Miller 1 0-0 2, Lyman 0 1-2 1, Holaday 0 0-0 0, Aden 0 0-0 0, Moton 0 0-0 0. Totals 38 3-9 85.

J (12-13): Horgan 11 1-1 30, Skunberg 9 2-2 21, Walters 5 7-8 17, Lunzman 2 0-0 5, Kallenbach 1 2-2 4, Douty 2 0-1 4, Hilgeman 0 0-0 0, Mosolf 0 0-0 0, Wegenast 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 12-14 81.

Half: J 37, WF 36. Regulation: WF 75, J 75. 3-point goals: Sufi 2, Liebl 2, Mertz, Pistorius, Horgan 7, Skunberg, Lunzman. Total fouls: WF 16, J 16. Rebounds: WF 42 (Lennon 10), J 33 (Walters 14). Assists: WF 10 (three tied with 2), J 12 (Kallenbach 7). Turnovers: WF 15, J 11.