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BOYS BASKETBALL: Davies earn 62-55 win over Bismarck St. Mary's

MINOT, N.D. – The Fargo Davies boys basketball team shed its “new kid on the block” tag when it qualified for the Class A state high school tournament for the first time a year ago.

On Saturday, the Eagles – in their fourth season as a program – earned “top dog” status with a 62-55 win over Bismarck St. Mary’s in the state title game at the Minot State Dome.

It is the first boys team state championship in school history.

“It is unbelievable,” said Davies senior guard Tanner Kretchman, who was named Mr. Basketball and senior athlete of the year following the game. “It is the first one in school history and words can’t really describe how great it feels.”

Kretchman finished with a game-high 32 points and six assists for the Eagles (23-2).

The No. 2-ranked Eagles led 23-22 at halftime, but St. Mary’s took a 33-31 lead with 10 minutes, 27 seconds left to play when senior guard Darius Sparks connected on a 10-foot jump shot.

Following Sparks’ bucket, Davies tied the game four different times, but didn’t regain the lead until senior guard Andrew Kozlowski hit a 3-pointer with 4:52 remaining making it 48-47.

“It comes down to confidence in those situations,” said Kozlowski, who finished with 16 points. “It is hard to have confidence down the stretch, but my teammates trusted me with the ball there and luckily I came through.”

Davies never trailed after that.

Kretchman followed Kozlowski’s shot with field goals on back-to-back possessions.

“When you have two guys like Tanner and Andrew you always like your chances,” Fargo Davies coach Bart Manson said. “Andrew hit a big shot at the end and Tanner was huge as well. I’m going to miss those two next year. They made me look like a pretty darn good coach this season.”

Sparks finished with a team-high 21 points for the No. 3-ranked Saints (20-5). St. Mary’s senior guard Ben Weisbeck added 15 points and 13 rebounds.

“It was going come down to one little run and who was going make that run,” St. Mary’s  coach Brent De Kok said. “Unfortunately, it was Davies.”

Third place

Bismarck Century 72, Fargo South 58: Tyler Rudolph scored 10 points and added seven rebounds to help Bismarck Century claim third place.

Ramey Schatz and Ben Holen each added 11 points for the Patriots (23-2).

Senior guard Colton Lloyd finished with 18 points leading the Bruins (15-10).

Fifth place

Wahpeton 60, Bismarck 59: Junior guard Thomas Nelson got a layup to fall with two seconds remaining to help Wahpeton to a 60-59 win over Bismarck in the fifth-place game Saturday.

Senior forward Jack Christensen led the Huskies (19-6) with 23 points and eight rebounds.

James Iron Eyes finished with 22 points for the Demons (17-8).

Tom Mix

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high school sports reporter. He's worked at The Forum for five years. He was the 2013 North Dakota sportswriter of the year, an award that is sponsored by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to  

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