St. Mary’s boys and girls head to state

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Since the start of the West Region basketball tournament, the St. Mary’s boys and girls have not qualified for state in the same year. That changed on Saturday when both Saints teams made it to the Super-A.

The St. Mary’s girls are the 3-seed this week as they prepare for their first game against Grand Forks Red River. Head Coach Shannon Copas talks about what he feels his girls are better at, opposed to Red River.

"I think we're a couple different types of teams. We love to play a man-to-man from what I've seen, they haven't had a lot of experience with man-to-man, but that's what we put our pride into is our man-to-man, so it's going to be a real interesting match-up," Copas said.

The girls will play the Roughriders on Thursday in the Fargodome at 3:30 CT.

The St. Mary’s boys basketball team won its way to the state tournament. The Saints beat Bismarck in the first round, and Dickinson in the qualifier.

The Saints enter the Super-A tournament as the 4-seed, and they have the challenge of playing the 1-seed from the East, West Fargo Sheyenne. It’s not an easy task, and their head coach, Brent DeKok knows it.

DeKok said, "I think just from the WDA Tournament in general, you know you've got to learn that you've got to show up prepared every game to play. You know, especially now you take another step going to the state tournament, there's so many good coaches out there, so many good players out there, if you aren't prepped and you aren't ready every single game, it's going to be difficult. It's so hard when you get to this point because there's teams you haven't seen in so long, or maybe haven't seen at all, so it's hard to really know, yeah they do this well, they do this well, we do that and we do that, so it's hard to see where you really match-up so well. But I know that our guys are just so excited to be there, and our guys are excited to go back to Fargo where they won a state football championship."

While they have the opportunity to play for their first state title since 2004, it can be tough preparing for a team you haven’t seen in a while.

Senior for the Saints, John Nordberg, said that "watching film on them, that's the first thing. We know that they've changed quite a bit. We didn't have one of their better players first time we played them, so that's going to be important, like figuring how they play. They're up-tempo and so are we, and we think we can match-up with that."

DeKok added, "Well yeah, I went back and looked at that film back from December third, I think it was when that opener was, but that was a long time ago, two different seasons it feels like, so you kind of take a little bit out of that, but look back at most recent stuff and really try to prep for them. They're a really good team, they shoot the ball extremely well, and they play really well in transition."

The boys will be in the third game at the SHAC tomorrow. Their game against the Mustangs is at 6:00 p.m. CT.