Davies reaches championship for 1st time

When Fargo Davies makes history, it does so in style.

The second-ranked Eagles’ high-octane offense delivered yet again, this time lifting Davies in the Class A state tournament championship for the first time in four-year program’s history.

After a tightly contested first half, Davies outscored South by 15 in the second half to secure an 82-66 victory Friday night at the Minot State Dome.

“It’s every kid’s dream to play in the state championship game and we’ve got that chance tomorrow night,” Davies coach Bart Manson said. “That was the big thing about tonight, just getting there. Tomorrow, we’re gonna line up and play a great St. Mary’s team and see what happens.”

The Eagles (22-2) will meet No. 3 St. Mary’s in today’s 8 p.m. title game at the Dome.

Davies senior guard Tanner Kretchman posted a game-high 31 points on 11 of 16 shooting. In the quarterfinals Thursday, the 5-foot-11 Kretchman torched Minot High for a first-round record 45 points. He now needs 38 points to break Shanley’s Mike Kuppich’s record for most points in a tournament. Kuppich scored 113 in the 1968 tourney.

Kretchman, a Minnesota State-Moorehead commit, scored the final four points of the first half, including a pair of free throws with 2.4 seconds left, to give Davies a 38-37 advantage at the break.

In the second half, Davies tallied 13 of the first 17 points – with the help of back-to-back 3-pointers by Kretchman – to blow the game open at 51-41. The Bruins (15-9) never trimmed the deficit to closer than nine after that.

“It was definitely a momentum swing, starting at the end of the first half and then we kind of carried that into the second half,” Kretchman said. “That was pretty much our goal coming out at halftime was to get it going early and get the momentum in our favor.”

Austin Schultz scored 12 of his 20 points after halftime, while Collin Larson nailed two treys in the final 18 minutes. Their inspired play opened up other facets of Davies’ offense, which has now scored 80 points ore more in 14 of 24 games.

“They’re definitely huge parts of our offense,” Kretchman said. “When they’re hitting shots, that’s when you know we can have a pretty good day offensively. They both stepped up in the biggest game of the year.”

Senior guard Andrew Kozlowski added nine points and eight rebounds for Davies.

Seniors Noah Poss (21), Colton Lloyd (18 and Zach Kellen (12) finished in double figures for South, which plays Century at 3:30 p.m. for third place.

Davies never met a high-scoring shootout it didn’t like, but the Eagles hope to get a few stops tonight, Kretchman said.

“We don’t want to dare them to score with us,” he said. “We want to be able to shut some teams down and that’s what we’re going to try to do tomorrow. As a team, we’ll just try to do whatever it takes to win.”

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.