Firebirds’ streak continues

Ray Maloney, Sports

Perhaps Devils Lake had a bit of a chip on its collective shoulders when the Firebirds took on Fargo Shanley on Thursday at the Devils Lake Sports Center.

What the Firebirds also had was Taylor Hoffart and Ben Erickstad. And that was plenty.

Hoffart and Erickstad combined for 51 points as the Firebirds secured a 78-74 win over the Deacons.

It was the fourth win in six outings for the Firebirds, who appear to be coming together at the right time as the regular season prepares to close.

“That was big,” Devils Lake coach David Bitz said of Thursday’s win. “Shanley is very good and crashing the boards and it simply came down to whoever wanted the game more was going to win.”

Hoffart was one of the big reasons the Firebirds got the win.

The 6-3 senior scored three points to start a 9-1 run to end the first half that allowed Devils Lake to turn a 27-22 deficit into a 31-28 halftime advantage.

Hoffart was far from done.

He scored 15 of the first 18 points of the second half as the Firebirds built a 49-40 lead with 13 minutes left in the game.

Devils Lake would eventually increase that lead to 11 before the Deacons began to chip away at the lead.

A 3-pointer just ahead of the final buzzer by Shanley’s Mike Jones accounted for the final points of the night for the Deacons, who scored an overtime win over Devils Lake for the Class AA?football championship in November at the Fargodome.

Hoffart finished the game with 26 points, while Erickstad  was right behind with 25 points of his own. Erickstad also posted a game-high nine rebounds for the Firebirds, who close their home season with a game Saturday against Grand Forks Red River.

Josh Rodenbiker led the Deacons with 22 points, while Myles Montplaisir and A.J. Jacobson finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Shanley (74): Josh Rodenbiker 22, Myles Montplaisir 11, A.J. Jacobson 10, Dylan Dunn 9, Stefen Webber 8, Mike Jones 8, Josh Wolf 6.

Devils Lake (78): Taylor Hoffart 26, Ben Erickstad 25, Tyler Mertens 8, Nate Mertens 7, Calvin Crawford 5, Tate Cichos 5, Brantley Light 2.

Halftime: 31-28 Devils Lake

3-pointers: FS 4 (Rodenbiker 2, Jones 1, Jacobson 1), DL 6 (Hoffart 5, Cichos 1). Rebounds: FS  37 (Montplaisir 7), DL 41 (Erickstad 9). Fouls: FS 25, DL 23. Fouled out: Montplaisir, Jacobson, N. Mertens. Assists: FS 4 (Dunn 2), DL 13 (N. Mertens 5). Steals: FS 8 (Montplaisir 4), DL 12 (Crawford 3, Erickstad 3). Turnovers: FS 25, DL 19.