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Girls basketball: Deacons stay atop EDC, Davies downs Central

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FARGO—Fargo Shanley girls basketball players were down on themselves after a loss at Devils Lake last week. The No. 3-ranked Deacons aren't used to losing.

Shanley head coach Steve Jacobson believes the Deacons bounced back with their best performance of the season. The Deacons cruised late to get an Eastern Dakota Conference win over West Fargo Sheyenne 86-62 on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Shanley High School.

"This is a team that hates to lose," Jacobson said. "The girls will find a way."

The Deacons (13-4, 14-2 EDC) responded after losing at Devils Lake 62-60 last Friday to stay on top of the EDC standings. The Deacons snapped the six-game winning streak by the Mustangs (13-4, 12-4).

Caira Berg led the Deacons with a game-high 24 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Julia Vetter added 20 points and Reile Payne added 19 points.

Jacobson said this might have been Berg's best offensive and defensive performance. Berg took over late and scored 20 of her points in the second half.

"It was huge to come off a loss to play like this," Berg said. "I just kept my composure and kept the team under control."

Maggie Manson led the Mustangs with 22 points off of five 3-pointers, four of them in the first half. She also scored her 1,000th career point in the first half.

Manson said the Mustangs fouling got her team out of rhythm which then made offense tough to find and made baskets tough to make.

"We're capable of shooting better than we did tonight," Manson said. "I think that's something to look forward to going into the rest of the season. We'll get that night where we can't miss. It's coming. We just have to be patient and keep shooting."

Early on, the Deacons beat Sheyenne's full-court press and were efficient in their halfcourt offense. Shanley built up a double-digit lead with about five minutes remaining in the first half after Sheyenne went over four minutes without scoring.

The Mustangs closed the first half on a 17-9 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Manson and a 3-point play from Tara Lewis, who finished with 11 points, to cut Shanley's lead to single digits less than two minutes before halftime.

A minute before intermission, the game was paused to recognize Manson scoring her 1,000th point as the crowd, teammates and opponents applauded her.

"It was a really cool experience," Manson said with a smile. "But I just wanted to play."

The Mustangs put together a 9-4 run early in the second half that included a pair of Joely Goodiron drives and a deep Manson 3-pointer. The Mustangs got the lead down to a point with less than 12 minutes left.

But the Mustangs never took the lead. Instead, the Deacons outscored the Mustangs 21-7 over the next eight minutes. Despite foul trouble for multiple starters, the Deacons made the free throws they needed after getting into the bonus early.

Jacobson said the Deacons and Mustangs could very possibly see each other again in the postseason. Either way, Jacobson said the Deacons will have a tough team to play among the top five teams in the conference standings. The next test for the Deacons will be on Friday against Fargo Davies, which was just half of a game behind Shanley in the conference standings going into Tuesday.

"No team has got a for sure in to the state tournament. They just don't," Jacobson said. "I think tonight the girls now believe in themselves again."

Halftime: FS 37, WFS 30

WFS: Dokara 10, Freih 7, Goodiron 8, Lewis 11, Manson 22, Stroh 4.

FS: Berg 24, Christmann 6, Huber 10, Manuel 1, Payne 19, Rivard 4, Vetter 20, Visser 2.