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Painter helps Red River rally for upset win against Davies to earn trip to state

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FARGO -- Grand Forks Red River senior Pierson Painter caught fire when it mattered most Saturday at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

The 6-foot-1 guard sank three consecutive 3-pointers in the game’s final three minutes to help the Roughriders rally for an 81-78 upset victory against top-seeded Fargo Davies in an East Region boys basketball state-qualifying game.

Painter finished with a team-high 29 points and said it was a surreal feeling after the final buzzer sounded.

“I couldn’t feel any part of my body,” Pierson said. “It was hard not to cry. It was very emotional.”

No. 6-seeded Red River (10-15) earned a spot in next week’s North Dakota Class A state tournament, while Davies (20-4) had its season end.

“You can’t ever take anything for granted,” Davies head coach Bart Manson said. “We maybe started to play that way a little bit and we’ve got to get back to being hungry. We’ve been a pretty successful program over the last five, six years here so it’s a little bit of humble pie to end the season.”

The Eagles took a 76-68 lead after junior forward Jaden Klabo sank a 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 52 seconds remaining. Painter countered with three consecutive 3-pointers to spark an 11-0 Red River run. Painter sank a deep off-balanced 3-pointer from the top of the key that gave Red River a 77-76 lead with 49 seconds to play. The Roughriders never trailed from that point.

“Painter made a couple really tough shots, one in the corner and then one deep 3 up top,” Manson said. “That was kind of the difference in the game. Hats off to them. They made the plays down the stretch and we did not.”

Painter scored 11 points in the game’s final five minutes to help Red River rally.

“Pierson has been doing that all season,” Red River coach Kirby Krefting said. “He’s a streaky shooter. He hits one, he’s going to hit five.”

Senior center Parker Stenseth paced Davies with a game-high 31 points. Sophomore guard Cole Hage added 20 points, including 6-for-7 shooting from 3-point range.

DAVIES (20-4): Stenseth 13 5-8 31, Hage 7 0-2 20, Klabo 4 0-1 9, Larson 3 1-1 8, Motschenbacher 2 1-3 5, Thom 1 0-0 3, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Nemer 0 0-0 0, Noel 0 0-0 0, Satter 0 0-0 0. Totals 31 7-15 78. RR (10-15): Painter 9 6-8 29, Enerson 7 0-0 14, Stephenson 4 2-2 14, Dvorak 4 2-2 11, Richardson 3 0-2 6, Benson 1 2-3 4, Obioha 1 1-1 3, Feller 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 13-18 81.

Half: RR 39, FD 38. 3-point goals: Hage 6, Klabo, Larson, Thom, Painter 5, Stephenson 4, Dvorak. Total fouls: FD 16, RR 17. Rebounds: FD 19 (Stenseth 6), RR 28 (Enerson 8). Assists: FD 15 (Motschenbacher 5), RR 12 (Dvorak 4). Turnovers: FD 10, RR 15.