Mr. Basketball leads Deacons to championshipBISMARCK — The Fargo Shanley boys basketball team and its standout 6-foot-6 senior forward A.J. Jacobson stand alone.
By: Tom Mix, Forum News Service, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — The Fargo Shanley boys basketball team and its standout 6-foot-6 senior forward A.J. Jacobson stand alone.
The No. 3-ranked Deacons defeated Bismarck 73-54 in the North Dakota Class A state championship game on Saturday at the Bismarck Civic Center.
It was a big night for Jacobson, who scored 27 points to pace Shanley on top of winning the state’s Mr. Basketball award and finishing with 2,002 career points breaking an unofficial Class A state scoring record.
Entering the game, Jacobson needed 21 points to tie and 22 points to break former Valley City standout Jeff Boschee’s all-time mark of 1,996 points.
“It is an honor to be mentioned with all these great players,” said Jacobson, who is a North Dakota State basketball signee. “Jeff Boschee was incredible. It is an honor to be mentioned with him. It was such a fun year. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, my coaches, my parents and my family. It is just a great feeling to have it all come to end here with a happy ending.”
The championship is Shanley’s third in school history. The Deacons won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but it sure is a great feeling,” Fargo Shanley head coach Shane Alderman said. “These guys are so deserving. When these guys put it all together they are such a fun basketball team to watch. I’m so thrilled for them.”
Patrick Strom added 17 points for the Deacons, who scored 259 points in three games during the tournament. That total broke an official tournament record of points scored by one team in the championship bracket. The previous record was held by Grafton, who scored 244 points in 1964.
“This year has been such a battle,” Shanley senior point guard Dylan Alderman said. “It all worked for us in the end because of our hard work.”
Bismarck put the clamps on the Deacons with stingy defense in the first half. Bismarck led by as many as seven points in the first half, but Shanley led 26-24 at halftime and never gave up the lead in the second half.
“They were prepared and they know how to play defense,” said Jacobson, who was named to the all-tournament team and honored as senior athlete of the year. “Unfortunately we played to their pace at the beginning of the game and finally we got out of our shell. We started running the ball up and down the floor. That worked out for us.”
Jacobson broke the scoring record with a putback layup with 3:08 left in the game.