DGF Boys Basketball team prepares for first state tournament appearance since 2016
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - For the first time in seven years, the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels can mark their names back in the Class AA State Basketball Tournament. Head Coach Mike Clark says this squad’s growth and leadership this season is what sets them over the top.
“Well, it means a lot, because we’ve had these kids in the program ever since their elementary age, so to see them grow, watch them improve over the course of the years, and, of course, I think this is one of the tightest-knit groups we’ve ever coached, so having them come together and be more of a family than a team; it’s been an awesome experience for them as well as me,” Clark said.
DGF closed out a tight overtime win over Thief River Falls to win the Section 8AA title last week, that win coming after a thrilling first two tournament games plus seven-straight wins to ride into the tournament blazing.
“Probably the most intense 36 minutes of basketball we played all year has been the last three or four games,” Coach Clark said. “And that’s a testament to them and their will and their desire and just their sheer will to win. They just want to play their best right now and they’re willing to come out and do whatever it takes to make that successful.”
That will to win, combined with a strong sense of brotherhood, is what some of the senior captains tell us is the key to their success on and off the court this season so far.
“Well, I’ve been managing since about eight years ago, and I’ve always been around these older guys,” DGF senior guard Karson Steichen said. “Now that I’m a senior, it’s really cool being one of the captains and using everything I’ve learned throughout the years to help the younger guys just improve and get better as they can.”
“It’s like football too, we always say, ‘Oh, DGF has the greatest kids’, and I think we truly believe that,” Leach said. “We all love each other in the locker room, we have the most fun, and like what we were just talking about, ‘what movie are you gonna watch on the bus ride down’ is the biggest thing right now, and they’re really excited to get down there.”
Despite stiff competition on the way in the Twin Cities this weekend, the Rebels are only one game away from playing in Target Center, and two more from playing for their first-ever state championship game.
“Just be you,” Leach said. “Just be you and go out here and hope for the best, like I told them at halftime last game: 18 more minutes, turned out to be 22 more minutes, but 18 minutes before we’re cutting net, so just give it everything you have for those 18 minute halves, another 18 minutes and just hope your best is the best.”
It’s going to be a new opponent for the rebels in the opening round. They face another team the Plainview-Elgin-Millville Bulldogs on Tuesday.
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