BISMARCK — The West Fargo Sheyenne girls basketball program took a step forward in reaching the North Dakota Class A state semifinals for the first time.
Hopes of getting further were quickly squashed by Devils Lake.
The East top-seeded Firebirds shot 24-of-34 from the floor in the first half and cruised their way into Saturday's championship game with an 80-57 semifinal win over the Mustangs at the Bismarck Event Center Friday.
Devils Lake's offense picked apart the Sheyenne zone the entire first half. Mattea Vetsch, who scored all 21 of her points in an opening half, was 8-of-9 from the field and a made all five of her 3-point attempts, as the Firebirds went into the locker room with a 57-29 lead.
"I honestly think that's the highlight of my career," Vetsch said. "It felt really good almost anywhere on the 3-point line."
The Mustangs, who didn't allow more than 74 points in a game all season, had surrendered that many with 10 minutes, 49 seconds remaining Friday.
The Devils Lake defense did its part too, relying on its swarming, full-court press to force 25 Mustang turnovers.
"They were clicking on all cylinders," Sheyenne coach Brent Hintz said. "Defensively they were doing what they do, they were flying around, using their athleticism, causing some problems. Offensively, their spacing was so good. They seemed to have five players all in the spot they were supposed to be in. They played really, really well."
Maggie Manson, who led the Mustangs with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, credited the Firebirds as well, but said she and her teammates did themselves no favors.
"We gave them a lot of open looks, a lot of open layups, which fed into it," Manson said. "But they played really well. It's hard in a game like this, especially when your ball isn't going in the hoop."
Now 25-1, Devils Lake is in the Class A championship game for the first time since 2007. The Firebirds will go for their first state title since 1987 in a 6 p.m. title game Saturday.
"We're here to make a legacy and start something for this program," Vetsch said. "We have a smaller enrollment than a lot of schools and we just want to show that doesn't affect us. We can play up to their level."
Half: DL 57, WFS 29
WFS: Manson 20, Huseth 5, Johnson 14, Goodiron 5, Lamp 2, Dokara 2, Dobrinz 2, Feist 7.
DL: Mertens 12, Johnson 2, Windjue 14, Vetsch 21, Olson 4, Heilman 3, Brown 8, Toso 4, Martinson 8, Ziegler 4.