Top five games of the 2015-16 DL and LRSC seasons

Sam Herder

Sam Herder

Journal Sports Editor

Photos from each game can be found on page 6 of today's Journal.

5. LRSC women’s basketball vs. NDSCS (Feb. 28, 2016)

The Lake Region State College women’s basketball team punched its ticket to its third straight NJCAA Division I National Tournament with an intense battle against North Dakota State College of Science in the Region 13 championship game.

The Sports Center saw its best college basketball atmosphere of the season.

LRSC won 73-63, but the Wildcats brought the deficit to four points three different times in the fourth quarter.

Cassidy Nelson answered with big points in the paint as LRSC was able to hold its cushion down the stretch.

Kennedy Henningsgard led the Royals with 25 points.

"These girls have worked hard," LRSC head coach Danny Mertens said after the game. "We started back in August. I brought them to school early. I beefed up our schedule. They've worked hard and we've been knocked down a few times, but it's all worked out now."

4. Devils Lake girls basketball vs. Fargo North (Feb. 27, 2016)

In an East Region play-in game, the Devils Lake girls basketball team won a 62-61 overtime thriller on its home court.

Taylor Windjue gave the Firebirds a 55-53 lead with 10 seconds left in regulation, but the Spartans quickly responded with a bucket to send the game into overtime.

The shot of the game, and probably the season, came when DL had to go the length of the floor with four seconds on the shot clock. Morgan Pedeliski took the in-bounds pass and heaved a half-court shot. Nothing but net.

The shot gave the Firebirds a 60-55 lead with a little more than a minute to play and enough cushion to extend its season.

“They just left me alone and I thought I’d get in shooting range,” Pedeliski said after the game. “I just kind of chucked it with both hands because I’m not strong enough. But I’m happy that I made it.”

3. Devils Lake baseball vs. West Fargo (May 17, 2016)

The 6-5 win against second place West Fargo was big at the time for the Devils Lake baseball team. In hindsight, it was even bigger.

The Senior Night victory gave the Firebirds 10 conference wins. At 10-10, there was a five-way tie to decide the eight teams in the East Region Tournament. DL snuck in at No. 8 and went on to defeat top-seeded West Fargo again in the opening round.

On May 17, Noah Widmer knocked in a three-run double to tie the game at 5-5 in the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded, Bryce Sebelius put the ball in play and sent home Landyn Swenson for the Game 2 win.

“(The win) pulls up our confidence pretty high,” Sebelius said after the game. “I think it will help us move further in the EDC and hopefully we can make the tournament.”

It did just that.

2. Devils Lake football vs. Williston (Aug. 28, 2015)

In the season opener against Williston, the Devils Lake defense stuffed three straight Coyote runs on the goal line with less than two minutes remaining to earn the 13-9 win.

Williston recovered a fumble at DL’s 9-yard line with 3:18 left in the game. With the clock ticking, the Coyotes inched closer to taking the lead. But a fourth down run was stopped and the Firebirds took over on downs and were able to run out the clock.

“We had a lot of young guys last year and we had to take some lumps with those guys learning,” first-year head coach Jake Wateland said after the game. “We expected them to do what they did tonight. For us to win the game on the fourth-down-and-goal like that is just great for our guys.”

In the game, Bradley Davidson ran for 107 yards and one touchdown on 12 attempts. Nik Desai caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Jake Mertens.

1. Devils Lake boys basketball vs. Fargo North (March 1, 2016)

The Devils Lake boys basketball team began its magical run to the state tournament with a nail-biting 68-58 overtime win against Fargo North in the East Region first round.

Third-seeded DL found itself in a classic playoff battle in the Sports Center with the No. 6 Spartans. The back-and-forth second half led to a North 51-47 lead with a minute and change to play.

North had a chance to make it a two-possession game again with 30.5 seconds left, but could only hit one free throw.

After a missed DL layup and a scramble for the ball, Mason Kostecki was found in the corner and he buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 52-52 with 16 seconds left to send it into overtime.

Kostecki hit two more 3-pointers in overtime as the Firebirds sealed the win.

“I envisioned being in the semis at the beginning of the year,” DL head coach Derek Gathman said after the game. “We can’t be satisfied. We still have one more win for sure that we need to get to get to state.”

Tomorrow's Journal will feature the top five performances of 2015-16.