Devils Lake knock off Valley City 65-46 to move into the East Region quarterfinals.

Michael Widmer scored 11 points, including four straight for Devils Lake without Valley City possessing the basketball that essentially took the air of the Hi-Liners in the Firebirds 65-46 Saturday, Feb. 23, matinee win in the boys Class A East Region play-in game from the Sports Center.

The Firebirds advance to play third seeded West Fargo Sheyenne in the quarterfinals Tuesday, Feb. 26, at West Fargo. The Firebirds lost to the Mustangs eight days ago by nine.

“I just thought our kids were ready to play,” said Firebirds head coach Derek Gathman. “There was nervousness, there was sloppiness a little bit but that always going to happen.

“This is our seventh game in like 15 days so there hasn’t been a lot of breaks so just to come out and be patient offensively and defend really well was good to see.”

The Firebirds (11-11) led from opening tip to final buzzer, except at 3-2 five and half minutes into the game. With the Firebirds up six, Valley City was called for a technical for having too many players on the floor. Widmer made both technical free throws and with possession, Widmer followed with a field goal to put the Firebirds ahead 10.

Devils Lake ended the half on an 18-8 run that put the game away.

Grant Nelson led the Firebirds with 14 points. Both Joey Frelich and Josh Dahlen each scored 10.

With the win, the Firebirds are two victories away from making it to the North Dakota High School Activities Association Class A state tournament in Bismarck on beginning on March 7th.

“We just put a big No. 2 on the white board — that’s the magic number. It doesn’t matter which two we win, we need to win two before we lose two. If we just take care of business and give ourselves a chance to play at state on Saturday, that’s all we can ask for,” Gathman said.

Peyton Zaun’s 14 points led the Hi-Liners whose season ended at 2-20.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ

Valley City at Devils Lake box score

Valley City 20 26 — 46

Devils Lake 36 29 — 65

VALLEY CITY (2-20) P. Zaun 14, Bennefeld 8, Eggermont 6, Beierle 5, Bitz 5, Taylor 4, D, Zaun 3, Brandt 1, Beutler 0, McGough 0. Totals 14 14-21 46.

DEVILS LAKE (11-11) G. Nelson 14, Widmer 11, Frelich 10, Dahlen 10, Aanstad 6, L. Nelson 6, Heilman 4, F. Hanson 3, Greene 1, Zimmerman 0, P. Hanson 0, Steffan 0, Bjornson 0, Shepherd 0, Hofstad 0. Totals 23 10-20 65.