FARGO -- With desperation starting to set in for West Region top-seeded Mandan, Devin Coyle made two shots. The first, a jumper with four seconds to play in regulation, forced overtime. The second, a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left in overtime, pu...

Seth Westby
Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum Communications Co. West Fargo's Derek Hogenson tries to block a shot by Mandan's Seth Westby on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class A boys basketball state tournament at the Fargodome.

FARGO -- With desperation starting to set in for West Region top-seeded Mandan, Devin Coyle made two shots.

The first, a jumper with four seconds to play in regulation, forced overtime. The second, a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left in overtime, put Mandan ahead for good.

Both baskets were key in the Braves' 67-62 win over West Fargo during the quarterfinals of the Class A state boys basketball tournament Thursday at the Fargodome.

"I hate losing and so do the other eight seniors on the team," said Coyle who is a Mr. Basketball finalist. "Between the nine of us and the other guys that came in, we knew we had to make some shots. The heart we played with that second half, we knew we wanted to move on to the next round. We really picked it up."

Mandan (18-5) advances to play Grand Forks Red River in the semifinals at noon today.


Coyle, who cooled considerably early in the second half, led all scorers with 26 points and was 6 of 14 from 3-point range.

"Devin has enough faith in himself that he's going to make the next one," Mandan head coach Jason Horner said. "I've seen him do it for four years ... He's amazing."

The Braves built an early lead with perimeter shooting. Aaron Janz and Coyle each converted three 3-pointers in the first half.

Mandan held a 30-21 lead with three minutes left to play in the first half, but West Fargo closed the half on a 12-0 run to take a 33-30 halftime lead.

"(Mandan) had a good rally early and we were able to stop that," West Fargo coach Greg Limke said. "We got our feet under us. We started believing we could be in the game and played well for most of the game."

Justin Heisler paced the Packers (12-11) with 22 points. Andy Young and Brady Rotert added 18 and 11 points, respectively, for West Fargo, which plays Bismarck St. Mary's in the consolation semifinals at noon today at the Bison Sports Arena.

West Fargo led 57-44 before Coyle scored his first points of the second half with 4 minutes, 11 seconds left in regulation. Coyle's two free throws started a Braves' 10-0 run.

The Packers didn't make a field goal in the final 4:11 and were 3 of 8 from the free-throw line, allowing the Braves to force extra time. Coyle's 3-pointer was the only field goal of the overtime period.


"We're proud of our guys for believing we could beat the top team from the west," Limke said. "We showed that we belonged here at the state tournament ... It's unfortunate that we couldn't close the door when we had the opportunity."

WF (12-11): Heisler 8-15 4-6 22, Young 5-9 8-9 18, Rotert 4-13 3-9 11, Uetz 2-6 0-0 6, Hogenson 2-3 0-2 4, Schock 0-6 1-2 1. Totals 21-53 16-28 62.

MANDAN (18-5): Coyle 8-19 4-4 26, Janz 4-13 1-1 12, Westby 3-12 5-6 11, Watson 4-7 0-0 8, Marcellais 2-4 0-0 4, Collins 1-7 2-2 4, Schmidt 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 23-66 12-13 67.

Halftime: WF 33, M 30. 3-pointers: Coyle 6, Janz 3, Heisler 2, Uetz 2. Total fouls: WF 14, M 18. Rebounds: M 59 (Janz 13), WF 29 (Rotert 8). Assists: M 10 (Westby 10), WF 6 (Hogenson, Schock 2). Turnovers: WF 10, M 14.

Wahpeton 66, Bismarck 64

Wahpeton's Jeremy Bontjes has made a habit of hitting buzzer beaters the last three weeks.

His latest came Thursday when the 5-foot-9 senior drained a 3-pointer as time expired in the Huskies' 66-64 quarterfinal win over Bismarck High.

Bontjes, who hit the game-winning shot in the Huskies' state-qualifying game last Saturday, dribbled the ball looking to drive, but stopped and knocked down the leaner at the top of the key.


The shot gave Wahpeton, which trailed by 16 with 11 minutes to play, its first lead of the game and prompted Huskies fans to storm the court.

"We knew if we got some defensive stops and got down on the offensive end and made shots there we'd have a good chance to come back," Bontjes said amidst a sea of purple and gold.

The win is the first opening-round victory for Wahpeton since 1979 when the team last won the Class A championship.

"The ball was in the right guy's hands," Wahpeton head coach Jeff Ralph said.

Bismarck had defeated Wahpeton in the opening round each of the Huskies' last six tournament appearances.

"We knew the streak coming in," said Bontjes, who finished with a game-high 25 points. "We knew we wanted to break it and we knew we had the team to do it. We just battled back and hit a shot at the end."

Wahpeton (17-6) advances to play Fargo Shanley in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today.

The Demons (19-4) led 35-30 at halftime and opened the second half on a 12-2 run. The Bismarck run was comprised of four 3-pointers, two coming from Tyler Unruh.


Bismarck's lead ballooned to 52-36, but Wahpeton wouldn't go away.

Wahpeton's Brandon Wetzel hit a 3-pointer with 3:40 left that cut the Deamons' lead to 60-56.

Mr. Basketball finalist Dexter Werner answered with a field goal, but after that Bontjes took control of the game. He scored Wahpeton's final 10 points.

Unruh and Devin Schirado each scored 16 points to pace Bismark.

Werner finished with 14 points and 25 rebounds for the Demons, who play Minot in the consolation semifinals today at the Bison Sports Arena.

"Bontjes made a lot of plays tonight," Bismarck head coach Steve Miller said. "He's been doing it all season, so it wasn't really a big surprise. He got to the basket on us and hit shots. He played great tonight."

BISMARCK (19-4): Unruh 6 0-0 16, Schirado 6 0-2 16, Werner 6 2-2 14, Schafer 2 2-2 7, Fitterer 2 0-0 5, Clairmont 2 0-0 4, Jolliffe 1 0-0 2. Totals 25-67 4-6 64.

WAHPETON (17-6): Bontjes 10 4-5 25, Irwin 4 1-1 11, Wetzel 3 0-0 9, Medhaug 4 0-2 8, Miller 2 0-0 6. Pratt 2 0-0 5, Christensen 0-6 2-3 2. Totals 25-60 7-11 66.


Halftime: B 35, W 30. 3-pointers: Unruh 4, Schirado 4, Schafer, Fitterer, Bontjes Irwin 2, Wetzel 3, Miller 2, Pratt. Total fouls: B 12, W 12. Rebounds: B 54 (Werner 25), W 37 (Medhaug, Miller, Christensen 6). Assists: B 11 (Werner, Schirado 4), W, 7 (Bontjes 3). Turnovers: B 6, W 6.

G.F. Red River 73, Bismarck St. Mary's 57

Grand Forks Red River may have come out a little too anxious on defense Thursday.

The Roughriders eventually found the right dose of pressure to post a 73-57 win over Bismarck St. Mary's during the quarterfinals.

"Our defense really settled down," Red River head coach Jason Gregory said. "We quit gambling, we started rebounding and we got back on defense and quit giving up layups."

"We defended well in the half-court set and limited them to one shot for the most part, which enabled us to get running on the other end."

Red River (21-2) advances to play West Region top-seeded Mandan in the semifinals at noon today.

St. Mary's got off to a good start and matched Red River step for step on offense in the first half. Scott Nagel led the way for the Saints early on scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first half. Red River led 38-34 at halftime.


After the break, the Roughriders simplified its defense and clamped down on the Saints. St. Mary's was held to 23 points in the second half, which sealed the win for Red River.

Mack Arvidson, a Mr. Basketball finalist, finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Roughriders. Red River's Mac Kroeplin led all scorers with 22 points and added seven rebounds.

St. Mary's (14-9) plays West Fargo today in the consolation semifinals at the Bison Sports Arena.

RED RIVER (21-2): Kroeplin 10 1-4 22, Arvidson 5 5-5 15, Farroh 3 3-3 11, Bartosh 3 1-1 8, Mi. Anderson 2 0-0 4, Kemnitz 2 0-0 4, Ma. Anderson 1 0-0 3, Hoplin 1 0-0 2, Burris 0 2-2 2, Azure 0 2-2 2. Totals 27-64 14-17 73.

ST. MARY'S (14-9): Nagel 5 4-8 16, Weisbeck 5 0-2 11, Obritsch 3 5-9 11, Bohan 2 2-5 7, Tescher 2 2-2 6, Sparks 2 0-0 4, Neff 1 0-0 2. Totals 20-70 13-26 57.

Halftime: RR 38, SM 34. 3-pointers: Kroeplin, Farroh 2, Bartosh, Ma. Anderson, Nagel 2, Weisbeck, Bohan. Total fouls: RR 23, SM 14. Rebounds: RR 51 (Arvidson 16), SM 52 (Obritsch 10). Assists: RR 11 (Arvidson 11), SM 6 Tescher 3). Turnovers: RR 16, SM 19.

Fargo Shanley 74, Minot 62

Fargo Shanley didn't have the start it wanted, but it made adjustments to produce its desired finish.

The Deacons transitioned into a press defense in the second half and junior A.J. Jacobson scored 21 points, leading to a 74-62 win over Minot in the quarterfinals.

The Magicians were clicking early on offense with 6-foot-4 center Colter Hustad scoring 10 of his 14 points in the first half.

"We really couldn't stop them in the inside," Shanley head coach Leon Knodel said. "We tried to switch up the pace a little bit in the second half by pressing them and hopefully getting them in a running-type game, which favors us. Obviously what we were doing in the first half wasn't working."

East Region No. 1-seeded Shanley (18-5) advances to play Wahpeton in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today.

Shanley had four players score in double figures. Dylan Alderman added 18 points for the Deacons. Thomas Strandemo and Patrick Strom scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Austin Frank paced the Magicians with 17 points. Minot (13-10) plays Bismarck in the consolation semifinals at today at the Bison Sports Arena.

SHANLEY (18-5): Jacobson 8 5-7 21, Alderman 6 5-8 18, Strandemo 6 0-0 14, Strom 4 2-2 10, Glogoza 2 0-0 4, Nelson 1 2-2 4, Dunn 1 0-0 2, Meyer 0 1-2 1. Totals 28-68 15-21 74.

MINOT (13-10): Frank 7 0-0 17, Hustad 6 2-4 14, Mackey 3 3-4 9, VanDusen 3 2-2 9, Krueger 2 1-1 5, Quist 2 0-0 5, Gerding 1 0-0 3. Totals 24-61 8-11 62.

Halftime: M 27, S 23. 3-pointers: Alderman, Strandemo 2, Frank 3, VanDusen, Quist, Gerding. Total fouls: S 14, M 20. Rebounds: S 54 (Alderman 15), M 41 (Gerding 10). Assists: S 7 (Jacobson 3), M 11 (Mackey 4). Turnovers: S 8, M 14.

Mix is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

What To Read Next
Get Local