Neither team could pull ahead. Halftime appeared with the teams in a deadlock, and regulation and one overtime period proved no more decisive.
There was no knockout blow. If it was a boxing match, it would've ended in a narrow 12-round decision.
Friday night at the Minot State University Dome, the Minot High boys basketball team needed a pair of overtimes to gut out a 77-72 marathon victory over West Fargo.
Minot High senior guard Jordan Seideman drives against West Fargo's Nick Eisenzimmer on Friday at the Minot State University Dome. The Magicians won 77-72.
"That's gonna pay big dividends come conference season and come tournament time," Minot coach Dean Winczewski said. "That's a good team, that's a very athletic team. That's a tough win to get."
The Magicians (4-1 overall, 2-1 West Region) scored the game's last five points to secure their third straight victory.
Junior guard Dakota Halvorson dished a sweet assist on sophomore Braydon Lund's layup with 35 seconds to play, which broke a 72-72 tie. Halvorson then knocked down 3 of 4 free throws in the final 11 seconds to ice the game.
"Dakota made some huge plays," Winczewski said, "not just free throws, but that pass to Braydon to give us the lead back - break (full-court) pressure, jump stop and gather. Little things like that are huge. Everyone will see the basket and free throws and all that, but those are big, big plays."
Halvorson finished with 12 points and Lund added 13. Junior Noah Bosh posted a team-high 17 points - including 10 from the charity stripe - while seniors Colter Hustad and Kolton Larson also finished in double figures with 15 and 12, respectively.
At the end of the first extra period, it appeared West Fargo's Travis Schock might steal the show. The 6-foot-3 senior poured in four of his game-high 31 points in the frame, none bigger than a contested runner from just inside the left elbow that put the Packers (2-2, 2-1 East Region) ahead 65-63 with 30 seconds to play. But Larson drilled two of his eight freebies to tie it. Shock traveled on the ensuing possession and Halvorson missed a challenging 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Minot junior Nick Soltis - one of 10 Magicians to see playing time - hit a trey from the right corner early in the frame to help Minot outscore West Fargo 18-13 in bench points.
"When guys were tired, (reserves would) come in and they'd fill their role - knock a few shots down, play defense, rebound," he said. "It helped us out a bunch."
Until Halvorson's free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining in double overtime, neither team held a lead greater than four points after halftime. The first half was more lopsided in streaks.
Minot opened with the game's first nine points, forcing three West Fargo turnovers in the first two minutes. But the Packers later countered with a 9-0 run of their own to take a one-point lead two minutes before halftime. Schock ran off the final eight points of that spurt, with two coming on a two-handed fast-break slam.
Winczewski liked his team's grit. The Packers outshot (49.2 percent to 40 percent), outrebounded (43-30) and outassisted (9-4) Minot, but the Magicians never gave in.
"We've got some toughness," Winczewski said. "That's the one thing we've though we had a little bit of since the year started."
West Fargo is projected to finish in the top half of the East Region and is receiving votes in the state media poll. It's certainly Minot's finest win this year.
"We're not good (with where we're at) yet, but it's a big step forward," Halvorson said. "Even though people say, 'It's a nonconference game, it shouldn't matter,' it does actually matter. It's a big pride win."
Ryan Holmgren covers Minot High athletics. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.