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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Steve Hendricks leads the Davis High School band that was playing for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks during the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 16, 2017.
We're having a blast. We're absolutely having a blast. The kids think it's awesome to be on television. —Davis High band director Steven Hendricks

SALT LAKE CITY — North Dakota could have used a little help on the basketball court in Thursday night’s 100-82 loss to heavily favored Arizona.

The Fighting Hawks did, however, enlist some assistance in other matters. Because of spring break, the school’s band wasn’t available to make the trip to Vivint Arena.

That’s when Davis High band director Steven Hendricks received a telephone call asking if a group of his musicians from Kaysville would be interested in filling in for the game. After some back and forth with the offer, everything was set.

“I asked the kids if they wanted to do it and it was kind of a no-brainer — they all wanted to,” Hendricks said. “So we found ourselves here.”

North Dakota officials collected names, T-shirt sizes and sent Hendricks a file with the school fight song on it.

“We picked it up and learned it in class,” he said.

The Davis High group sat behind the Fighting Hawks’ cheerleaders. They wore green “UND” shirts and performed throughout the game, appearing on a national stage in the process.

“We’re having a blast. We’re absolutely having a blast,” Hendricks said. “The kids think it’s awesome to be on television.”

The exposure is great, Hendricks acknowledged, since the Davis High Marching Band is seeking all the publicity it can get before an appearance this November in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

The national media interviewed them during their NCAA tourney performance.

“We just thought we were coming to pretend that we were a North Dakota band,” Hendricks said.

Although the band wasn’t compensated monetarily, their bus ride to and from Kaysville was paid for and the group received free “UND” T-shirts.

“Green to wear tomorrow for St. Patrick’s Day,” Hendricks said.

FAMILIAR FACES: Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s aren’t the only West Coast Conference representatives at the games in Salt Lake City.

BYU athletics director Tom Holmoe is also on hand as the NCAA basketball committee rep.

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“It’s great,” said Holmoe, who was assigned to the West before the brackets were completed. “I knew I was going to be here. I didn’t know they were going to be here.”

EXTRA STUFF: The Pac-12 is 2-0 in the tournament thus far after Arizona’s win. USC defeated Providence 75-71 in the First Four on Wednesday . . . North Dakota made its first NCAA appearance after defeating Weber State in the Big Sky Conference championship game . . . The attendance for the second session was 16,341.

Email: dirk@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer