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GIRLS BASKETBALL: North Dakota Class A all-state team features unanimous selections from Fargo

JAMESTOWN — Unanimous selections Sarah Jacobson of Fargo Shanley and Alexis Klabo of Fargo Davies lead a group of five selected to this season’s North Dakota Class A all-state girls basketball first team.

The team, selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, also features Miss Basketball award winner Paige Peterson of Jamestown, Keisha Engelhardt of Bismarck and Cassie Askvig of Minot.

Jacobson, a 5-foot-9 sophomore point guard, led Class A in scoring at 21.7 points per game, helping the Deacons to their seventh state championship. She also led the state in assists (6.8) and 3-pointers (66) en route to her second straight first-team nod.

“For me, she’s the top guard in the state,” Shanley coach Tim Jacobson said. “I wouldn’t want anyone else out there. Her hard work pays off because she plays seven days a week, year-round.”

Klabo, a 6-2 junior forward, was second in Class A in scoring at 21.6 points per game, leading the Eagles to a program-best fourth-place finish at state. She averaged 10.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game, while also shooting 48 percent. She’s the first Davies player to make the all-state team in the school’s short history.

“Lexi’s a leader on the floor by example,” Davies coach Tonah Safranski said. “When we need a basket, she goes and gets us a basket. When we need a defensive stop, she comes up with a big stop. We go as Lexi goes.”

Peterson, a 6-1 senior center, is Jamestown’s first Miss Basketball, leading the Blue Jays to a second consecutive trip to state. The Class A senior athlete of the year led the West Region in scoring (19.2) and rebounding (14.2) and was also 55 percent from the floor.

“She had two or three girls on her a lot of the time, and she still found ways to get shots up and get the rebounds we needed,” Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said. “She was the focal point of our team. She was the leader on the court for us down low.”

Engelhardt, a 5-9 senior forward, led Bismarck to a No. 1 ranking for most of the season before finishing third at state. She posted per-game averages of 18 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

“Keisha is one of those girls who is undersized for her position, but we play her at a stretch-four,” Bismarck coach Dallas Hinderer said. “She has to play hard every night to get what she gets, and she’s able to do that.”

Askvig, a 6-1 sophomore forward, keyed Minot’s run to the state championship game. She tallied 18 points per game, shot 54 percent and also grabbed nine rebounds per contest.

“Cassie is the type of kid every coach loves to have — she wants to do whatever’s right for the team,” Minot coach Todd Magnuson said. “She can shoot the ball from 3-point range and post up. Cassie’s an all-around player that’s been a very big asset.”

Walford on second team

Madison Walford of Devils Lake is a second-team pick.

The 6-1 senior center averaged 17.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Walford, who has signed to play at Dakota State in Madison, S.D., ranked second in rebounding and blocked shots and fifth in scoring in the Eastern Dakota Conference.

“Madison’s strength was facing the hoop,’’ Firebirds coach Justin Klein said. “She had a good mid-range shot and could hit the 3-pointer. With her length, she was a good post defender.’’

Other second-team selections are:

  •  Cassidy Thorson, West Fargo: A 5-11 senior guard-forward, Thorson was the East Region senior athlete of the year and averaged 15.7 points and 3.2 assists per game for the Packers, who finished sixth at state.
  •  Dierra Diegel, Valley City: The 5-10 senior forward had per-game averages of 19.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.1 steals in helping the Hi-Liners to their first state tournament appearance since 2005.
  •  Jordyn Jossart, Bismarck Century: A 5-9 junior guard, Jossart helped the Patriots to fifth-place at state, averaging 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
  •   Macy Lynch, Bismarck Century: The 5-11 senior forward averaged 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and two assists, as Century made its 12th consecutive appearance at the state tournament.