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BOYS BASKETBALL: Fargo Davies downs Red River for East Region title

WEST FARGO--Fargo Davies' boys basketball team needed to chip away before it ran to a North Dakota East Region championship on Saturday. The Eagles found themselves down double digits early in the second half and spent most of the final 18 minute...

WEST FARGO-Fargo Davies' boys basketball team needed to chip away before it ran to a North Dakota East Region championship on Saturday.

The Eagles found themselves down double digits early in the second half and spent most of the final 18 minutes pulling closer to Grand Forks Red River. Eventually Davies walked out of West Fargo High School with its second ever East Region championship after defeating the Roughriders 74-70.

"We went flat for a while and it was a credit to Red River," Davies head coach Bart Manson said. "They are a long team and they play very good defense. We hung in there and didn't bury ourselves by getting down 15 to 20. They got it to 10 points, but we told the kids to keep chipping away at it."

Red River (15-9) led 35-30 at halftime and started the second half on a 7-0 run.

Davies (19-5) didn't take a lead until 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the game when junior guard Matt Veit hit the back end of a pair of free throws, which put the Eagles up 65-64.

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Less than a minute later, Veit telegraphed a Red River pass in the backcourt for a steal and drove to the hoop. Veit got his layup to fall and was fouled on the play allowing him to complete the three-point play, giving Davies a 70-64 advantage with 1:24 left.

"Matt played great," Manson said. "He leads the conference in steals and has a great knack of knowing where the ball is and he anticipates play. He made a couple big plays down the stretch to help seal the game for us."

Red River cut the lead to 72-70, but freshman Jaden Klabo made two free throws with seven seconds to seal the victory.

"This is a special group," said Veit, who finished with 20 points. "At the beginning of the year no one thought we would be even close to this point. We had heart and grinded it out. We knew we could be in this spot all year and we got it done."

Davies will be the East Region's top seed at next week's state state tournament, which begins Thursday at the Bismarck Events Center.

"This season we weren't picked to be the best team, but we have found our niche lately by playing hard," Davies senior Conor Rayl said.

Junior Austin Slaughter scored 24 points to lead the Roughriders.

"We didn't rebound as well as we did the first half," Red River head coach Kirby Krafting. "That led to some easy transition baskets for them when they got some of those rebounds. I thought we played well and I thought our defense was excellent. We showed we can play with anyone and I'm proud of our tournament. We are looking forward to next week."

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2372961+030616.S.FF_.edcboysbasketball.02 copy.jpg
Fargo Davies' Conor Rayl drives against Grand Forks Red River's Jordan Polynice Saturday, March 5, 2016, during the EDC title game at West Fargo High School. David Samson / The Forum

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