BISMARCK – A second straight perfect season and a third straight North Dakota Class A girls basketball state championship were earned the hard way by Fargo Shanley on Saturday night at the Bismarck Event Center.
Shanley was put to the ultimate test by Bismarck Century, which took the No. 1-ranked Deacons to overtime. In the end, Shanley edged Century 73-66.
Perfection—attained. Three-peat—sealed. State-record winning streak—extended to 70 games. Dynasty—cemented.
"I got to say it is probably No. 1 to be honest," Shanley senior all-state guard Sarah Jacobson said when asked where the victory ranks during their win streak. "Century is a great team. They came out ready to play, hit some big shots and got some stops too, but we were resilient. We stuck together, believed in each other and got the win."
The Deacons (27-0) had never played an overtime game during their current winning streak and outscored Century 9-2 in the overtime period.
Shanley got a momentum-swinging play from Jacobson when it needed it the most. With 32.8 seconds left in overtime, Jacobson converted a three-point play to give the Deacons a 71-66 lead.
"I knew the shot clock was running down, so I tried to take the girl off the bounce and draw some contact," said Jacobson, who finished with 31 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. "I heard the whistle blow, I put up a shot, and it went in."
Shanley senior all-state forward Lauren Rotunda—also a Miss Basketball finalist—added 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Deacons.
"It was definitely a new experience for us playing at that kind of intensity," Rotunda said. "It is indescribable honestly. We came out with heart, and we knew we couldn't give up. We needed to play until the last second. The nerves were clearly high, but one of our favorite sayings is, 'Cool minds prevail,' and we kept reminding ourselves of that."
Century (25-2) hung in the game much of the second half by heating up on the perimeter. The Patriots were 6-for-16 from beyond the arc in the second half and took a 62-61 lead with 1:46 left in regulation when senior guard Hannah Holtz connected for a 3-pointer.
"We saved it for when we really needed it (Saturday)," Bismarck Century head coach Ron Metz said of the team's shooting in the second half. "There were leaders out there who did such great things."
Senior guard Kourtney Selensky led the Patriots with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Shanley becomes just the third team in Class A history to win three or more consecutive titles.
"So many things happened to this group this year," Shanley head coach Tim Jacobson said. "There were a lot of records broken, and the fact that they stayed focused even into the situation (Saturday) playing an overtime game was commendable. I'm so happy for the girls."
Half: S 30, BC 26
End of regulation: S 64, BC 64
S: Caira Berg 2, Sarah Jacobson 31, Ellen Erie 6, Annie Swenson 2, Lauren Rotunda 20, Emily Dietz 12.
BC: Lexi Brown 13, Maddie Klein 2, Jenna Fitterer 8, Kourtney Selensky 14, Hannah Holtz 9, Reagan Dennis 12, Lilly Keplin 8.
Red River: Allison Hillebrand, Lexi Robson; Fargo Shanley: Emily Dietz, Lauren Rotunda, Sarah Jacobson; Bismarck Century: Kourtney Selensky, Reagan Dennis; Wahpeton: Tylee Irwin;
West Fargo: Akealy Moton; Minot: Cassie Askvig; Mandan: Alicia Weiand.
State tournament MVP: Sarah Jacobson.
Powerade Class A senior player of the year: Sarah Jacobson, Fargo Shanley.
Class A coach of the year: Tim Jacobson, Fargo Shanley.