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Tom Mix, Published January 08 2013

Packers hand Hi-Liners first loss in girls hoops

WEST FARGO – The Valley City girls basketball team entered Tuesday’s game against West Fargo undefeated.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Hi-Liners departed the gym after being handed its first loss of the season. The Packers cruised to 68-47 Eastern Dakota Conference victory at West Fargo High School.

“Valley City came in with a clean record,” West Fargo head coach Barb Metcalf said. “Of course that adds a little bit more to the intensity level, but I thought our kids did a job adjusting to certain things as far as matching up. Our depth was too much for them.”

West Fargo – ranked No. 3 in North Dakota Class A – had nine different players contribute to its scoring. Junior forward Cassidy Thorson led the way with 15 points for the Packers (5-1, 5-1 EDC).

The Packers pulled away midway into the opening half executing a 16-0 run.

West Fargo built its lead first by executing on the defensive end. The Packers’ pressure defense forced Valley City into turnovers and poor shots.

“Our defense sparks our offense,” Metcalf said. “We have been shooting the ball well lately and it seems like whenever you shoot the ball well good things can happen.”

The Hi-Liners committed 17 turnovers in the first half and finished with 28 for the game. West Fargo led 33-17 at halftime.

“We knew West Fargo was going to be a big test for us coming into this game,” Valley City head coach Jim McDaniel said. “Defensively, they made things happen. We struggled at times to put up good shots because of their pressure.”

Entering Tuesday, No. 1-ranked Fargo Shanley and Valley City were the only undefeated teams in the EDC.

Christine Baltezore finished with 14 points – 10 of which came in the second half – for West Fargo.

“Once they got their lead they had a counter for everything we did offensively,” McDaniel said. “They just don’t give you a chance to get back in the game.”

Dierra Diegel and Jessica Denholm finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively for Valley City (6-1, 2-1).

Metcalf said the Packers didn’t concern themselves too much with the record of the Hi-Liners, but the victory is West Fargo’s fifth in a row. West Fargo’s only loss came against Shanley.

“We never talked about that,” Metcalf said. “You don’t want to be looking at standings and things like that. We want to take it one game at a time like we normally do and have a business attitude.”

VALLEY CITY (6-1): McDaniel 1 0-0 3, Olson 3 0-2 6, Denholm 4 0-0 10, Di. Diegel 4 3-6 11, Taylor 3 2-2 8, Da. Diegel 0 1-4 1, Olstad 3 2-7 8. Totals: 18 8-21 47.

WEST FARGO (5-1): Woodbury 2 3-4 7, Baltezore 4 5-5 14, Thorson 3 7-8 15, Lennon 3 0-0 6, Gustafson 3 0-0 6, Levin 3 1-4 7, Langerud 2 6-6 10, Stedman 1 0-0 2, Warner 0 1-2 1. Totals: 21 23-29 68.

Halftime: WF 33, VC 17. 3-pointers: Denholm 2, McDaniel, Baltezore, Thorson 2. Total fouls: VC 20, WF 15. Fouled out: Di Diegel, Taylor. Rebounds: VC 22 (Di. Diegel, Da. Diegel 5), WF 22 (Thorson 5). Turnovers: VC 28, WF 18.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562