Davies girls earn first EDC tournament title in program history
FARGO—Fargo Davies senior Raegan Linster flashed a smile during the postgame Saturday night at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
The look of satisfaction came moments after Linster helped lead the Eagles to their first East Region girls basketball championship in program history. Linster scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lift Davies to a 54-49 victory against Grand Forks Red River in the region title game.
"It means so much," said Linster, who was named the region senior athlete of the year. "Every player dreams of winning championships."
Davies (21-3) earned the No. 1 seed from the East Region for next week's North Dakota Class A state tournament, which starts Thursday in Fargo. The Eagles, in their eight season as a varsity program, lost in the region title game last season. Linster said that served as motivation.
"It feels so amazing," Linster said. "We were definitely wanting redemption so it's great to have it now."
Linster helped fuel a 14-2 run that started with less than 7 minutes to play in the second half to push the Eagles into the lead for good. She scored five points during that stretch, including a 3-pointer that gave Davies a 47-42 lead with 4 minutes, 3 seconds remaining. Senior guard Grace Geffre also scored five points in that run, including a long 3-point shot. Sophomore Alexis Simle-Askew capped the rally with a 3-point play that gave Davies a 52-42 lead with 2:15 remaining.
"They made some longe-range bombs and they stretched the lead on us and then we had a hard time scoring," Red River head coach Kent Ripplinger said.
The Roughriders led by as many as seven points in the second half before the Eagles started the claw back into the game. Davies took a 42-40 lead after Geffre sank a 3-pointer with 5:32 remaining, the Eagles' first lead after halftime.
"We've talked a lot about persistence and determination and sticking to task," Davies head coach Tim Jacobson said. "We didn't panic tonight, we stayed the course. We kept telling them that their would be a run and that happened late in that game."
Red River (18-6) earned the No. 2 seed from the East Region for the state tournament. Senior forward Maggie Steffen paced the Roughriders with 17 points, including four 3-pointers.
"I think this week confirmed that we can play with any team," Ripplinger said. "We've come a long way this year. I don't think it's going to be any different for us next week."
Geffre scored 11 points to join Linster in double digits. Junior forward Alyssa Paper added eight points, nine rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.
"It was just an all-around good effort," Jacobson said. "It's exciting for the kids, exciting for the school. They've done a great job, they've worked hard. Give credit to our seniors. ... The whole program is lifted up for what they've done."
RR (18-6): Steffen 6 1-1 17, Frank 6 2-2 14, Sondrol 3 0-0 7, Burris 1 2-2 4, Steffan 0 3-7 3, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Leach 1 0-0 2, Robson 0 0-0 0, Page 0 0-0 0, Azure 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-12 49.
DAVIES (21-3): Linster 7 2-4 20, Geffre 4 1-3 11, Paper 4 0-0 8, Simle-Askew 2 2-2 6, Fey 2 0-0 4, Kottsick 1 1-2 4, Wacha 0 1-2 1, Koenig 0 0-0 0, Schock 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 7-13 54.
Half: RR 27, FD 22. 3-point goals: Steffen 4, Sondrol, Linster 4, Geffre 2, Kottsick. Total fouls: RR 16, FD 12. Rebounds: RR 35 (Frank 6, Robson 6), FD 31 (Linster 10). Assists: RR 12 (Steffan 5), FD 12 (Kottsick 6). Turnovers: RR 22, FD 13.
All-Eastern Dakota Conference team
Mattea Vetsch and Jes Mertens, Devils Lake; Raegan Linster, Carly Kottsick and Alyssa Paper, Fargo Davies; Elise Bakke, Fargo North; Maggie Steffen, Grand Forks Red River; Hadley Huber, Reile Payne and Caira Berg, Fargo Shanley; Taryn Dieterle, Valley City; Jordyn Kahler, Wahpeton; McKenna Becher, West Fargo; Maggie Manson and Kierra Freih, West Fargo Sheyenne.
East Region coach of the year: Justin Klein, Devils Lake
East Region senior athlete of the year: Raegan Linster, Fargo Davies