BOYS BASKETBALL: St. Mary posts 67-62 win over top-ranked Century
MINOT — Bismarck Century and Bismarck St. Mary’s played two tight games in the regular season, so when the West Region powers met Friday night in the North Dakota Class A boys basketball state semifinals, a close contest was forecasted.
Not deviating from expectations, the game went into overtime with St. Mary’s posting a 67-62 win over top-ranked Century at the Minot State Dome.
The Patriots had won the previous meetings by scores of 62-60 (Jan. 20) and 78-77 (Feb. 8).
“It was just two good teams going at it, and we knew coming it was going to be a great game,” said St. Mary’s senior guard Darius Sparks, who led the No. 3-ranked Saints with 19 points.
St. Mary’s (20-4) advances to tonight’s state title game and plays the winner of Fargo Davies and Fargo South at 8 p.m. Century (22-2) plays the loser of Davies and South at 3:30 p.m. for third-place.
The two teams entered the four-minute overtime tied 54-54 after Century’s Dalton Feeney scored on a layup off a steal a second before regulation time expired.
Century senior guard Tyler Rudolph opened overtime by sinking a jump shot, but Sparks answered with a 3-pointer on St. Mary’s next possession. The Saints never trailed the rest of overtime.
“My team needed me to step up big time,” Sparks said. “I just tried everything I could do to help us win the game. … We told ourselves we were not going to get another loss against them (Friday). I’m very happy it went our way.”
St. Mary’s last championship game appearance came in 2004 when it defeated Bismarck for its third state title in program history.
Rudolph and Feeney each finished with 16 points for the Patriots.