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Chris Murphy, Published February 05 2013

Spuds slip past Packers in boys hoops

WEST FARGO – Coming into Tuesday’s matchup between metro rivals Moorhead and West Fargo, the Spuds had scored 206 points in their previous two wins. Spuds center Brett Lawrence had 10 of those points.

Lawrence was tired of missing out on the offense. The 6-foot-6 junior scored 18 points and hauled in seven rebounds to help lead the Spuds to a 73-60 win over West Fargo.

“Coming into this game I knew I had to play better and I knew I had to step it up,” Lawrence said. “My teammates found me when I was open. We knew they were going to really play Aaron (Lien) hard tonight after the last two games he’s had. We knew everyone else needed to step up and score with Aaron because he’s going to get his points. That’s what he does.”

He does it well. Although his 40-point average in the last two games may take a dip, Lien was still able to pour in 24 points and bring down 15 rebounds against West Fargo (9-5).

Lien is inching closer each game to the Moorhead career scoring record, but apparently no one is informing him just how close.

“I actually have no idea where I’m at with that,” Lien said. “Coach Zimmerman told me I’m close, but he won’t tell me where exactly.”

With Cody Dorow scoring 10 and Austin Nelson adding 15 points and nine boards to go along with the big nights from Lawrence and Lien, there was no need for a Lien outburst for the Spuds (12-5) to notch their fifth straight win.

“It was a big team win for us,” Lien said. “We had some guys step up and make big plays. It’s good to see guys step up like that. We always say that we want to beat the Fargo schools. We call it the metro championship. Right now we’re 2-0 and we got one more against Fargo South.”

The only time Moorhead trailed in the first half was on the first bucket of the game, as the Spuds took a 29-24 lead into the break.

West Fargo opened the second half with a 7-0 run to take a 31-29 lead. The game was tied at 33-33 before Moorhead used an 18-8 run to separate and never look back.

“After the barrage, we just had to get set up,” Moorhead coach Corey Zimmerman said. “Once we got set up, we starting cutting up their zone. It’s not only good for your program, but for your community when you win these inner-city battles.”

The Packers were within eight with two minutes remaining, but Nelson dropped a 3-pointer with 88 seconds left that slammed the door on West Fargo’s three-game win streak.

“We gave it a great effort, but they just kept attacking and they’re awfully good at what they do,” West Fargo coach Greg Limke said.

“Instead of attacking the basket like we had been during our run, we started shooting 3s. We took some poor shots. It was one pass and shoot the three and that’s not the way to be successful.”

MOORHEAD (12-5): Dobbins 2 2-2 6, Lien 8 7-9 24, Dorow 3 2-2 10, Lawrence 6 6-8 18, Nelson 5 3-4 15.

WEST FARGO (9-5): Heisler 6 0-0 12, Mattila 1 0-0 2, Schock 8 2-3 19, Rotert 4 0-0 9, Hogenson 3 0-1 6, Wolden 2 0-1 4, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Huber 2 0-0 6.

Halftime: M 29, W 24. 3-point goals: Dorow 2, Lien 1, Nelson 2, Schock 1, Huber 2, Rotert 1. Total fouls: M 10, W 18. Rebounds: M 34 (Lien 15), W 20 (Johnson 4). Turnovers: M 11, W 7.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548