Davies upends two-time defending champion Century
Only two North Dakota teams have ever won three consecutive state championships. This season, there will not be a third.
Fourth-ranked Century, the two-time defending state champs, entered the Class A state tournament Thursday with a chance to make history, but its dream of basketball immortality quickly turned into a nightmare as the Patriots fell 61-55 to No. 5 Fargo Davies in the quarterfinals at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
The Eagles (17-6) advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in the program’s four-year history and will play Fargo Shanley at 3 p.m. today at the Minot State Dome.
The prospect of lining up against a program on the verge of a dynasty was certainly on Davies’ mind, but coach Tonah Safranski said her girls kept things in perspective.
“They knew that it was just another game,” said Safranski, who has coached the Eagles since their inaugural season in 2010. “We knew that if we went out, worked hard and did things well, we would have a chance to be in the game, and that’s what happened.”
While the result shocked the Patriots, who normally have an advantage in the post.
“I think their size got to us a little bit,” Century coach Ron Metz said. “We haven’t played a team with that much length for a while. We weren’t quite ready for that, but I think once we adjusted, we did well.”
The Eagles jumped out to a 10-2 lead out of the gate, an advantage they clung onto for the entire first half. Century (19-4) clawed its way back into the game eventually, taking its first lead with 12:12 remaining.
Junior guard Jordyn Jossart led the Patriots with 19 points, followed by teammates Jen Benz (12) and Macy Lynch (11), who were the only other Century scorers in double figures.
Like Safranski, Metz insists that the prospect of a 3-peat was not a distraction for his players.
“I don’t think it was,” Metz said. “They were focused on the game plan for Davies, and we got a lot of good execution in some areas.
“Sometimes, the ball bounces your way, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Century can rebound from its disappointment with a consolation semifinal against Jamestown 6 tonight at the Aud.
“We’re gonna see where our character is and what type of heart we have,” Metz said. “I know our girls are going to have a great attitude once we sleep this one off and come back strong tomorrow.”
The Eagles, who are another upset win away from the state title game, take on East Region rival Fargo Shanley. The No. 3 Deacons have won 14 straight and have defeated Davies twice this season by a combined 53 points.
“We’ve been chipping away at (Shanley) all season,” said Davies senior Erin Klabo, who led the Eagles with 24 points. “If we come ready play with energy, we can do it.”
Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.