Century claims titleBismarck Century junior Tom Fraase struggled from the 3-point line during the North Dakota Class A state boys basketball tournament semifinals. But he knocked them down when it mattered most in the Patriots’ biggest game of the year.
By: By Heath Hotzler , Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Bismarck Century junior Tom Fraase struggled from the 3-point line during the North Dakota Class A state boys basketball tournament semifinals.
But he knocked them down when it mattered most in the Patriots’ biggest game of the year.
Fraase drilled three key 3-pointers in the second half to lift Century to their first state title since 1984 with a 57-51 victory against rival Bismarck on Saturday in the state finals at the Fargodome.
“Coach told me if I had an open look I should knock it down,” Fraase said. “I was confident and they went in.”
Fraase, who finished 1-for-9 from the floor and 0 of 3 from the 3-point line against Mandan in the semifinals, stepped into the limelight midway through the second half.
He nailed a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down and the Demons making a charge to give the Patriots a 41-37 lead with 9 minutes, 24 seconds remaining.
His next triple with 8:15 on the clock made the score 44-37.
Fraase’s third 3-pointer of the second half, again with the shot clock winding down, extended Century’s lead to 52-46 with 3:03 remaining.
He finished with 13 points.
But, more than that, each of his second-half 3-pointers answered a Bismarck run.
“They fought harder than we did,” said Bismarck coach Steve Miller, who has led the Demons to six state titles. “No question about that.”
The game was another classic battle between West Region rivals.
Bismarck dropped its first meeting against Century earlier this season before winning two in row. The Demons defeated Century 56-44 in the region tournament title game.
Patriots senior guard Justin Ledger was named the tournament MVP after another solid performance.
Ledger led Century with 22 points, including 12 in the second half.
The game was tied at 30-30 with 14:59 remaining.
However, the defending state champion Demons couldn’t grab momentum down the stretch because of Century’s hard-nosed defense and its ability to knock down big shots.
Every Bismarck shot had a Patriots’ answer.
That proved to be a championship equation.
Dexter Werner and DeWayne Liggins each had 14 points to lead the Demons.
“Bismarck is a such a good team and really physical,” Fraase said. “This was a great game. We love playing each other. This is a great win for our program. It’s been so long since we’ve been here, and this feels great.”
Class A State Tournament
Bismarck (19-6): Fitterer 1 0-0 2, Schirado 2 0-0 5, Kautz 5 0-0 11, Liggins 4 6-8 14, Werner 6 2-5 14, Joliffe 1 0-0 3, Talmadge 1 0-0 2, Keller 0 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 8-13 51.
Bismarck Century (22-3): Fraase 5 0-0 13, Maund 1 0-0 2, Ledger 7 7-8 22, Wingenbach 0 3-4 3, Melvie 1 0-0 3, Thunshelle 0 0-0 0, Wentz 3 1-1 7, Rivinius 3 1-3 7. Totals 20-57 12-16 57.
Half: BHS 26, BC 24. 3-point goals: Schirado, Kautz, Joliffe, Fraase 3, Ledger, Melvie. Total fouls: BHS 16, BC 17. Rebounds: BHS 32 (Liggins 6), BHS 39 (Wentz 10). Assists: BHS 4 (Werner 3), BC 4 (four players with 1). Turnovers: BHS 11, BC 5.
Grant Ringdahl, West Fargo. Dexter Werner, Bismarck. Devin Coyle, Mandan. Jesse Crosby, Minot. Nick Schultz, Fargo North. Brady Syverson, Fargo North. DeWayne Liggins, Bismarck. Devin Schirado, Bismarck. Justin Ledger, Bismarck Century. Carson Wentz, Bismarck Century
MVP: Justin Ledger, Bismarck Century
Senior player of the year: Joe Hanstad, Dickinson.
Coach of the year: Darin Mattern, Bismarck Century.
Hotzler is a sports writer at the Forum