Shanley’s Sarah Jacobson goes up for a basket during the North Dakota State Class A Girls basketball semifinal game game against Wahpeton Friday, March 11, 2016, in Bismarck. Shanley advances to the championship game with a 64-31 win. Dave Wallis / The Forum
BISMARCK—Fargo Shanley's girls basketball team didn't allow Wahpeton the same satisfaction the Huskies gained a week ago, taking the Deacons the distance in the East Region tournament on Friday at the Bismarck Event Center.
The Deacons powered their way to a 64-31 victory over the Huskies in the North Dakota Class A semifinals.
A week ago, Wahpeton led Shanley at halftime, but later fell 53-45 to the No. 1-ranked Deacons. Friday's rematch wasn't as dramatic.
"We came out with great intensity and the emotions were running high for us because we knew Wahpeton had played us to the wire last week," Shanley head coach Tim Jacobson said. "Brian Watson has done a great job with that team, but (Friday) we came at them defensively. We took away a lot of their scoring and the shots that they were hitting against us last week."
Shanley (26-0) closed the first half on a 17-1 run and led 38-15 at halftime.
"A couple of things were at work," Wahpeton head coach Brian Watson said. "They played a close one (Thursday) and I think that woke them up a bit and Shanley was able to push the ball and get some easy layups. We didn't give them any easy ones last week, but (Friday) they made a bunch of them."
Shanley was led by senior Miss Basketball finalist Lauren Rotunda, who scored 20 points and added 8 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Junior center Emily Dietz added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Deacons, who have now won 69-straight games—a modern day state record since the sport was sanctioned by the North Dakota High School Activities Association in the 1970s.
"They played us tight at the region tournament," Shanley senior guard and Miss Basketball finalist Sarah Jacobson said. "Our coaches looked at the film and gave us a lot of things we needed to correct. We just had to execute and we did."
Jacobson, who won North Dakota Gatorade Play of the Year honors this week, finished with seven points and seven assists.
Shanley plays No. 2-ranked Bismarck Century in the championship game set for 6 p.m. Saturday. It is a rematch of last year's state title game.
"It's a huge accomplishment," Jacobson said of qualifying for the team's third straight state title game. "This group has worked hard for everything we've done. We've had this goal since Day 1. We are going to go out there (Saturday), have fun and play our best."
Wahpeton (16-10) plays Grand Forks Red River in the third-place game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Junior forward Tylee Irwin finished with 14 points to pace the Huskies.