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BOYS: Firebirds tip Riders

Jason Gregory didn't see who put up the final shot Saturday in the Alerus Center. However, the Devils Lake coach saw the result, which was favorable. Beau Snyder banked in a shot from the middle of the lane at the buzzer to lift the Firebirds to ...

Jason Gregory didn't see who put up the final shot Saturday in the Alerus Center.

However, the Devils Lake coach saw the result, which was favorable.

Beau Snyder banked in a shot from the middle of the lane at the buzzer to lift the Firebirds to a 69-67 victory against Grand Forks Red River in the first round of the East Region boys basketball tournament.

"It was such a scramble, I didn't even see who had the ball," Gregory said. "I just saw the ball go up and luckily it went in."

Devils Lake plays West Fargo at 6 tonight in the semifinals. Red River faces Grand Forks Central at 2:30 p.m. in loser-out play. West Fargo defeated Central 59-40 in the first quarterfinal game.

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"Give them credit, they kept playing until the end," Red River coach Bart Manson said. "They got a lucky bounce and that was the game."

With the score tied at 67, Devils Lake threw the ball in from the right sideline in the frontcourt. Firebirds forward Jason Burdick ended up with a layup attempt just off the left side of the basket. His shot was too hard off the glass and the rebound ended up on the floor in the middle of the lane.

Snyder dug the loose ball out of a scramble and banked in a shot from about 5 feet away as time expired.

"I just saw the ball come off and go through the legs of a Red River guy," said Snyder, who finished with 13 points. "I just picked it up. I knew there wasn't much time left so I shot up a prayer."

Red River trailed 67-65 after Jordan Mertens, who scored a game-high 26 points, sank two free throws with 37 seconds remaining. However, Justin Walker hit a tough 15-foot pull-up jumper over the top of a Devils Lake defender to tie the score at 67-all. That set the stage for Snyder and his game-winner.

"I was just so pumped. So many things went through my mind," Snyder said. "I was so happy for the win."

West Fargo 59, Grand Forks Central 40: The top-seeded Packers scored 18 straight points the final 12 of the first half and the first six of the second half to spark their victory in the first round.

West Fargo avenged a 71-54 loss in early February.

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"This game we came out with a lot of intensity," said West Fargo guard Tanner Farkas, who scored a game-high 16 points. "We knew we lost to them last time, and we didn't want that to happen again."

Central guard Chad Kreitinger made a transition layup with 4:25 remaining in the first half to cut the West Fargo lead to 21-17. The Knights didn't score for the next eight minutes as the Packers went on their 18-0 run.

"I just think we didn't come out with any intensity, any fire," Central coach Dan Carlson said. "We were flat. We didn't play hard. They wanted to win more than we did."

Junior forward Seth Dye scored eight of his 11 points during the Packers' string of 18 consecutive points.

Michael Schnepf capped the surge. The 6-foot junior scored on a tip-in with 14:40 to play in the second half, staking West Fargo to a 39-17 lead.

"This was really important for us," Farkas said. "That gives us a little bit of confidence going into the next game."

Fargo South 74, Fargo North 61: Size made a difference.

Fargo South had five players score in double figures, all of which were 6-foot-2 or taller. That height and balance sparked the Bruins to a quarterfinal victory against Fargo North.

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"Too much size," said North senior Justin Lake, a 6-foot-1 guard. "If we can't get a rebound, we can't run. It's tough when they start three guys 6-6 and we start four guys 5-11."

Dustin Herrmann, a 6-4 junior, led the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Remington Utgaard, a 6-2 senior, added 14 points. Ismail Kareem, a 6-3 junior, poured in 13 points. Matt Aanenson and Jordan Allard, both 6-6, chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively.

"We had the size advantage definitely and we emphasized that," Herrmann said.

Fargo Shanley 83, Wahpeton 63: Shanley went on a 24-6 run in the second half that included five 3-pointers and one 3-point play to pull away from the Huskies in the first round.

The Deacons hit went 5-for-6 from 3-point range after hitting just 1 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half.

"We weren't making them that well in the first half," said Shanley post Ben Jagim, who scored a game-high 26 points. "It felt good to make some of them in the first half."

Jagim, who made 10 of 12 shots from the field helped open the perimeter for the Deacons.

"The big thing was Jagim was holding his own and they were collapsing on that," Shanley coach Leon Knodel said. "We knew we needed to make some shots from the outside in the second half."

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Wahpeton took a 40-34 lead after Pat Coyne scored an inside basket with 16:10 remaining in the second half.

However, that's when Shanley got hot from the perimeter.

Adam Schwankl, Chase Miller, Jeremiah Johnson and Michael Schmit, who hit two in that stretch, each made 3-pointers in the key run.

Schwankl started the surge with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 15:42 to play. Dan Bergerson capped the key Shanley run, scoring a putback with 7:40 remaining as the Deacons built a 58-46 lead.

"We started to hit some shots in the second half which is what we needed," Knodel said.

Shanley plays South at 6:30 tonight in the semifinals. The teams split two games in the regular season.

"They are a hometown team," Jagim said. "We really want to come after them with everything."

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