Red River takes Class A titleFARGO — The longer championship drought ended Saturday night at the Fargodome.
By: Eric Peterson, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — The longer championship drought ended Saturday night at the Fargodome.
Mack Arvidson poured in a game-high 30 points and drained the clinching foul shot with 5 seconds remaining. His performance lifted Grand Forks Red River to a 78-74 victory against Fargo Shanley for the North Dakota Class A state boys basketball championship.
“It’s a dream come true, I’ve been thinking about this my whole life and it’s just awesome,” said Arvidson, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Red River (23-2) earned its first state championship since 1969 with the victory. The Roughriders hadn’t played in a title game since 1970.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Red River senior Ricky Farroh, who had 11 points and five rebounds. “We were finally state champions after 40-something years. It felt great.”
Shanley (19-6) missed a chance to win its first state championship since 1998. The Deacons had defeated Red River 71-58 a week earlier for the East Region championship.
“I’m just proud of these guys,” Shanley head coach Leon Knodel said of his team. “I’ve seen them grow up. I’m proud of the young men that they have matured into.”
Shanley cut the Red River lead to 73-71 after sophomore guard Patrick Strom scored a layup with 2 minutes, 45 seconds remaining.
Red River countered with next four points, including an Arvidson 15-foot jumper that gave the Roughriders a 75-71 lead with 2:30 remaining. That gave Arvidson 1,000 career points. The 6-foot-2 guard’s foul shot with five seconds left were the last points of the game and his career, which ended with 1,001 points.
“They are a good team,” said Shanley junior A.J. Jacobson, who scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. “They outplayed us. We didn’t play any defense and they made a lot of good shots.”
Shanley had two chances to tie the score in the final 30 seconds with Red River missing four consecutive at one point in the final minute.
Trailing 77-74, Jacobson had a 3-point shot from the top of the key rim out with 24 seconds remaining. Deacons junior guard Dylan Alderman also missed a 3-point attempt from the baseline with seven seconds remaining that would have tied the score. Arvidson grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made his first of two free throws to seal the championship.
“When it comes down to it, I really couldn’t make a shot down the stretch,” said Jacobson, who was 1 of 10 from the field in the second half. “That’s about it. … We just cooled off a little bit. I think they worked pretty hard on defense. We tried our best on defense, but it just wasn’t good enough.”
The teams traded baskets at a frenzied pace in the first half, combining for 88 points over the first 18 minutes.
The Deacons erupted for 13 consecutive points in less than three minutes late in the first half to vault into the lead. Strom capped that rally with a 3-pointer from the baseline that gave Shanley a 46-39 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the half. The Deacons took a 46-42 lead into halftime. The teams combined to make 17 shots from 3-point range before halftime. Shanley shot 73 percent (8 of 11) from 3-point range in the opening half. Red River shot 69 percent (9 of 13) from beyond the arc in the first half.
“Talk about a great game for Class A basketball.” Red River head coach Jason Gregory said. “We came out and both teams shot extremely well. I thought we kept our composure through their runs and they held up at the end.”
Jacobson and Strom each scored 18 points in the first half. Jacobson was 8 of 12 from the field and also grabbed seven rebounds. Arvidson also netted 18 points in the opening half, including 6-for-7 shooting from 3-point range. Arvidson made his first six 3-point shots.
“I was amazed,” Arvidson said of the first-half scoring barrage. “I’ve never seen that. Everyone was making everything. It was just unreal.”
Peterson is a sports writer for The Forum