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Tom Mix, Published February 02 2013

Deacons use defense to stifle Fargo North in girls hoops

FARGO – The Fargo Shanley girls basketball team boasts the top defense in the Eastern Dakota Conference and it was in top form on Saturday.

The Deacons’ disruptive defense caused Fargo North fits all afternoon and eventually led to a 59-38 win at McCormick Gymnasium.

North Dakota Class A No. 3-ranked Shanley entered Saturday’s game allowing opponents just 39.9 points per game. North struggled to sustain its offense the entire game and 21 total turnovers did not help.

“I thought we came out real sharp defensively in the second half,” Shanley head coach Tim Jacobson said. “We were able to get to their shooters. I thought in the first half North had some really nice looks and capitalized on them, but the second half we challenged every shot.”

Shanley opened the second half with a 15-4 run to pull away from the No. 5 ranked Spartans.

Senior guard Haley Brenner scored a game-high 19 points to paced the Deacons (10-1, 9-1 EDC).

“I thought we really picked it up today,” Brenner said. “North is a good team, but we came out, fired up and we were hitting our shots. Our patience was a lot better today. That’s what really helped us.”

Shanley freshman Sarah Jacobson added 15 points and senior center Jessica Anderson finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. Anderson scored eight of her 10 points in the second half.

“Offensively, we showed some patience and worked it to the players that we wanted to get the ball to,” Tim Jacobson said. “You could see our confidence growing the entire game.”

North’s Kelsie Schmiess connected for four 3-pointers in the game and finished with 12 points. Senior forward Courtney Johnson added 10 points for the Spartans (9-3, 7-3).

“I knew ball pressure was something that could throw us fits and it did,” North head coach Derek Ouren said. “The kids didn’t respond, but I trust and really believe in this team that they are going to figure it out. We are going to get better and be able to handle their pressure the next time we play them.”

Shanley has won three consecutive games since losing to No. 2-ranked West Fargo on Jan. 22.

NORTH (9-3): Muellenberg 0 2-4 2, Johnson 3 4-6 10, Bergeron 3 2-2 9, Larson 1 1-2 3, Schmiess 4 0-0 12, Ross 0 2-2 2. Totals: 11 11-16 38.

SHANLEY (10-1): Jacobson 5 2-2 15, Brenner 8 2-2 19, Weir 2 0-0 5, Fraase 2 2-2 6, Anderson 4 2-2 10, Mickelson 1 0-0 2, Bucholz 1 0-0 2. Totals: 23 8-8 59.

Halftime: S 32, N 22. 3-pointers: Schmiess 4, Bergeron, Jacobson 3, Brenner, Weir. Total fouls: N 11, S 10. Rebounds: N 28 (Larson 8), S 28 (Anderson 9). Turnovers: N 21, S 13.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562