Thursday, March 8th
Game 1: W#1 Mandan vs. E#4 West Fargo The state's best backcourt (Errron Collins 13ppg, Devin Coyle 20ppg) will be out to continue their winning ways. Mandan will try to run West Fargo out of the gym in the opener. Mandan has won 11 of their last 12 with their only loss coming to Bismarck by a single point.
Game 2: E#2 GF Red River vs. W#3 Bismarck St. Mary's Red River spent much of the year atop the Power Rankings. The reason they are so good is everyone on the team has a role. Mack Arvidson 20ppg puts up the points and gets to the foul line. Ricky Farroh is big on the offensive boards; Mac Kroeplin can distribute and knock down the jumper, Josh Hoplin is an intimidator on defense and does the inside work. They'll have to face St. Mary's and their sharpshooter, Ben Weisbeck who can carry the team. He's not the only scoring option though. St. Mary's has plenty of athletes who will be able to punch it in if Red River forces Weisbeck to pass.
Game 3: E#1 Fargo Shanley vs. W#4 Minot If there's one team I want to see more than anyone it might be Shanley. Their special guard A.J. Jacobson can absolutely command the game. He has averaged 24.4ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.4 spg, 3.1bpg, 52%FG 10 rpg. Those stats cover a variety of aspects of the game. But when you throw in the fact that Patrick Strom can light it up for 20+ points as well you've got a dynamic team that's really on a roll. Minot had to fight hard to get into the field. Brandon VanDusen and Austin Frank will have to work hard to contain Shanley. Minot hasn't played their best ball coming down the stretch but they can hang with most teams.
Game 4: W#2 Bismarck High vs. E#3 Wahpeton Wahpeton has proven to be a tough contender all season, but they may have met their match with a first round draw against Bismarck. Dexter Werner (20 ppg 8.7 rpg) led the league in scoring and rebounding and is the most polished big man in the state. The question is who will step up their game at the tournament? Maybe Taylor Shafer or Devin Schirado and Jaxon Fitterer? They will need a big performance from one of these guys to get the Demons headed toward a state title. Wahpeton has a nice resume that includes two wins over Shanley. They have Jeremy Bontjes (18.6) to score and Jack Christianson to fight with Werner on the boards.