Fargo ECI Alumni downs Bismarck Elite to win Junior Grand Am title
The championship game of the boys’ high school division of the 25th annual Junior Grand Am Tournament on Sunday was loaded with talent.
The contest between the Fargo ECI Alumni and the Bismarck Elite Squad featured eight of the 11 players selected to the 2014 North Dakota Class A All-State team.
The ECI Alumni, which included Grand Forks Red River’s Chad Bartosh, defeated the Elite 76-70 to take home the championship on the main court of the Alerus Center.
The Alumni included first-team picks Bartosh and Taylor Schafer (Bismarck High), and second team picks Colton Lloyd (Fargo South), Andrew Koslowski (Fargo Davies), and Travis Shock (West Fargo).
The Elite Squad included first-teamers Ben Weisbeck (Bismarck St. Mary’s) and Tyler Rudolph (Bismarck Century), and second-team Jayden Ferguson (Williston).
Despite being opponents during the regular season, Bartosh said the majority of the team had been teammates before.
“Five of us played together last summer with the ECI program,” Bartosh said. “It’s fun because you get to become friends with them in the summer and then play against them in the regular season.”
In the first half, it appeared the Alumni were going to run away with the championship, leading by as many as 15 points before taking a 43-29 lead into halftime.
But the Elite battled back behind the shooting of Weisbeck and the post play of Rudolph, getting within five points with a little more than a minute to play.
The late run made for a competitive basketball game, but the Alumni knocked down their free throws to seal the win.
“It does mean something to win it, the Grand Am is a huge tournament,” Bartosh said. “It was a fun tournament and a fun weekend.”