Firebirds close out regular season home sked with girls, boys split

Chris Harris, DLJ Sports
Devils Lake's Abby Johnson attempts to shoot through West Fargo Sheyenne's Paige Johnson during the first half of a NDHSAA girls basketball game Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 in Devils Lake.

It was 'Senior Night' from the Sports Center as both Devils Lake basketball programs closed out its 2019-20 home schedule Friday, Feb. 21, against West Fargo Sheyenne with mixed results.

Playing in her "final" home game, Abby Johnson scored 18 points, 13 in the first half, that led the No. 1 Firebirds to the 72-50 win over the Mustangs. A nip-and-tuck game for the first 11 minutes of the contest, the Firebirds (20-0, 19-0 Eastern Dakota Conference) ended the first half on a 20-5 run and went into the locker room ahead 43-26.

"It was a good win. I thought we were ready to play tonight with all of the festivities that go on so sometimes you don't know but I thought the kids came out ready to play," said Firebirds head coach Justin Klein.

With the game tied at 23 after a Karson Sanders field goal, Johnson made two free throws and connected on a 3-pointer just as the shot clock horn sounded on consecutive possessions and then Jailyn Martinson two free throws pushed the Firebirds advantage to seven in a minute and 26 second span. 

The lead ballooned to 20 early in the second half and the Mustangs (10-9, 10-8) never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

Martinson finished with 17 points, Ramsey Brown had 13 points and Jes Mertens, who sat out much of the first half after drawing blood from her lip due to contact, returned to finish with eight points.

Lauren Fagerland had nine points to lead Sheyenne.

West Fargo Sheyenne at Devils Lake box score

Sheyenne 26 24 — 50

Devils Lake 42 30 — 72


Fagerland 9, Feist 8, Breidenbach 7, Huseth 7, Clemens 4, Goodiron 3, Sanders 3, P. Johnson 2, B. Johnson 2, Manson 2, Nelson 2, Terhark 1, Heacox 0, Metcalf 0. Totals 19 7-10 50.

DEVILS LAKE (20-0, 19-0)

Johnson 18, Martinson 17, Brown 13, Mertens 8, Dahlen 4, Frelich 3, L. Gourd 3, M. Gourd 3, Krogfoss 3, May. Barendt 0, Swenson 0, Wilhelmi 0. Totals 24 20-30 72.


No. 2 West Fargo Sheyenne 61,

Devils Lake 42

A five point game at the half, the Mustangs used an 18-1 run in the second half to eventually put separation between them and the Firebirds in the win.

"They went into that 3-2 zone and they were able to extend it really high with their length," said Derek Gathman, head coach of the Firebirds about that deciding stretch in the second half. "We prepared for it, we knew we were going to see that but it's tough to prepare for their length and athleticism that they got and we just didn't handle that pressure with poise."

Joey Frelich's 3-point play with 13:54 remaining in regulation pulled the Firebirds (11-9, 11-8 EDC) to within three at 33-30 but a 3-pointer by Blake Berg, followed by five straight points by Zion Dettmann and the Mustangs (18-1, 17-1) lead was up to 11.

A Ben Heilman free throw got Devils Lake to within 10, but Barika Kpeenu's 3, followed by five consecutive points by Blake Berg and the Mustangs lead was 18.

Senior Grant Nelson scored 19 points to pace the Firebirds.

Dettmann finished with 19 points and Moni Jacksen had 17 to lead the Mustangs.

West Fargo Sheyenne at Devils Lake box score

Sheyenne 25 36 — 61

Devils Lake 20 22 — 42


Dettmann 19, Jacksen 17, Berg 10, Terhark 7, Kpeenu 6, Dosmann 2, Urlacher 0, Manson 0, DuBois 0. Totals 22 9-14 61

DEVILS LAKE (11-9, 11-8)

Nelson 19, Heilman 8, Widmer 6, Frelich 3, Hofstad 3, Hanson 3, Fee 0, Steffan 0, DeCoteau 0, Onebear 0. Totals 12 11-17 42.

Chris Harris can be reached at