The 300 Won
There are attributes for competition which cannot be taught. Height, athleticism & intelligence may be chief amongst them. Sure there are factors which enhance those - coordination, work ethic, studying, and loving to play. At times, hustle & passion are able to make up the difference created by the unteachables. Sometimes, no level of hustle is able to make it happen. One of those was the case on Tuesday night in the SpartanDome of North Fargo.
Let me just spoil the surprise right away. Fargo North had the advantage in height and athleticism over Wahpeton. The Huskies countered as best they could through effort and intensity but the match up was just not in their favor. Even though the Spartans two tallest players didn't get in until the game was well in hand, it didn't matter. The advantage for Sparty started with senior guard Simon Sem, who finished with a team high in points and displayed his athleticism on a fast break dunk - amongst other plays through out the game.
The game high in points actually went to sophomore Josh Darwin, who tallied 15 points for the victors. His good effort was unfortunately not complimented too well by his teammates, with Daniel Pithey being the only other Huskies to crack double figures.
Likewise for Fargo North, Matt Pietsch was the only other Spartan to score ten or more. Each team had about the same number of comrades make the scoring column so it just boiled down to the number of times that those players successfully managed to do so. An important asterisk is that many of Wahpeton's points also came when the lead was around 30 points for Fargo North. It's undeniable that they shrunk the differential considerably but having starters playing against the bottom of the Spartan roster largely accounted for that.
Sometimes when that happens people chalk it up to the game not being as close as the final score. I on the other hand think that the final score perfectly reflected how close the contest was. I would say the same if the final score had finished at around 30 points since the margin hit that mark and was around it for several game minutes. For much of the first half the lead was in the single digits so that the fact that it wrapped at 13 points perfectly reflects the two different facts. Some may dispute that, what isn't disputable is that the Fargo North Spartans were the better team on the night, they have a couple guys who could play on some level of college ball and may be a team to watch when the tournament starts.
The decision for player of the game is tighter for this one then some have been but I think there is still one right choice.