Eagles boys claim back-to-back East Region titles
FARGO—Fargo Davies boys basketball team prepares to get every opponent's best shot—and the Eagles are still undefeated going into next week's North Dakota Class A state tournament.
Matt Veit and Jake Paper both recorded double-doubles to fuel the top-seeded Eagles to an 89-74 victory over No. 3-seeded West Fargo Sheyenne in the East Region championship game Saturday, March 4, at the Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
This marks back-to-back East Region titles for Davies.
"We come out every game and we know we have a target on our backs," Paper said. "We know we have to lock down, execute on offense and play as a team."
Veit made 9 of 14 shots from the floor and 15 of 23 free throws for a game-high 35 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists. Paper made 7 of 10 shots from the field and 7 of 7 free throws for 23 points to go with 11 rebounds for his double-double. Harrison Thom made 4 of 5 3-pointers for 18 points while Jaden Klabo scored 10 points.
Sheyenne's Carter Bonnema chalked up a team-high 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the floor and added 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocks for his own double-double. Christian Kuntz was 5-for-9 for 14 points and Chase Erickson made 4 of 15 shots for 10 points.
Davies was 26 of 52 (50 percent) from the field and 10 of 22 (45 percent) from 3-point range. The Eagles also forced the Mustangs into shooting 11-for-33 in the second half and outrebounded Sheyenne 35-31.
"It's a chess match with those guys because they have so many pieces," Sheyenne head coach Tom Kirchoffner said. "They're a great ball club. It's tough to get a good matchup."
The Eagles put together a 10-2 run early in the first half and then scored another nine points unanswered. The largest lead of the first half for Davies came on a Paper 3-pointer from the left wing with 6 minutes, 20 seconds left to play, giving him 1,000 career points.
However, Sheyenne chipped away at the lead with a 16-3 spurt that included two 3-pointers from Dawson Anderson and another five points from Erickson. Bonnema hit a layup in transition as the halftime buzzer went off to cut the Eagles' lead to three.
The Mustangs claimed a brief lead when Kuntz scored on a fast break just over a minute into the second half. But Davies came back and scored 11 unanswered on its way to a 24-4 run that put Sheyenne away.
"It's just another step in what they wanted to accomplish this year," Davies head coach Bart Manson said. "They set in. We had to go through some adversity tonight, and our guys did heck of a job in the second half."
Sheyenne, the No. 2 seed out of the East Region, will play West Region No. 3-seeded Dickinson at 8 p.m. in the state tournament quarterfinals. East Region top-seeded Davies will play West Region No. 4 Bismarck High at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, at the Bismarck Events Center.
"It feels great, but we're not done yet," Veit said. "We're definitely going to celebrate this, but we're still hungry for next week."
WFS: Bonnema 19, Kuntz 14, Erickson 10, Thiele 8, Reynolds 6, Anderson 6, Trottier 6, Stormon 5.
FD: Veit 35, Paper 23, Thom 18, Klabo 10, Larson 3.
Half: FD 42, WFS 39.
All-Eastern Dakota Conference
Devils Lake: Jake Mertens, Zach Dahlen.
Fargo Davies: Matt Veit, Jake Paper.
Fargo North: Siman Sem.
Fargo South: Kaleb Johnson.
GF Red River: Mark Toe, Jordan Polynice.
Fargo Shanley: Jake Kava, Jake Reinholz.
WF Sheyenne: Chase Erickson, Carter Bonnema.
Valley City: Nate Rodriguez.
West Fargo: Joe Pistorius, Haboniman Simon.
EDC coach of the year: Bart Manson, Fargo Davies.
EDC senior athlete of the year: Siman Sem, Fargo North.
EDC athletic director of the year: Mark Rerick, Grand Forks.
Class A state tournament
Thursday, March 9
At Bismarck Event Center (Main Arena)
Fargo Davies (24-0) vs. Bismarck (12-13), 2 p.m.
West Fargo (19-5) vs. Minot (22-2), 4 p.m.
Fargo Shanley (15-10) vs. Bismarck Century (20-4), 6 p.m.
West Fargo Sheyenne (16-8) vs. Dickinson (21-3), 8 p.m.