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Tom Mix, Published March 05 2013

West Fargo tops Valley City in East Region girls basketball quarterfinals

WEST FARGO – Being down did not suit the West Fargo girls basketball team on Tuesday.

West Fargo trailed Valley City by the slim margin of two points in the opening minute of regulation. After that, the Packers controlled the rest of the game and cruised to a 66-44 win over the Hi-Liners during the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class A, East Region tournament at West Fargo High School.

Control of the game was seized through defense. A full-court, pressure-causing defense to be specific. West Fargo’s defense caused many of the 36 turnovers that were committed by Valley City and also created a lot of easy offense.

After falling behind 2-0, No. 3-ranked West Fargo rattled off a 14-0 run and never looked back.

“That is what we like to do with our defense,” West Fargo head coach Barb Metcalf said. “Usually, we will have an offensive explosion off of our defense. … Our girls did a good job of putting it all together.”

The Packers (18-2) advance to play Fargo North at 7:15 p.m. on Friday in the semifinals at the Fargo Civic Center.

Senior guard Christine Baltezore led all scorers with 14 points and connected for three 3-pointers. Baltezore also posted five assists and six steals.

West Fargo led 34-14 at halftime.

“It took us too long to get a handle on their full-court pressure,” Valley City head coach Jim McDaniel said. “They score in waves off that. We started out 2-0, and all of a sudden it was 14-2. They score in bunches.”

Valley City (12-9) plays Devils Lake game at 3:45 p.m. on Friday in a loser-out game at the Fargo Civic Center. Clarrisa Olson and Dierra Diegel each finished with 13 points for the Hi-Liners.

“Our full-court defense really threw them off,” said junior Cassidy Thorson, who finished with 13 points, six rebounds and five steals. “They started getting a lot of turnovers and I thought our aggressiveness really showed through.”

Senior guard Lexi Lennon added 13 points for West Fargo.

VALLEY CITY (12-9): McDaniel 1 0-0 3, Olson 5 3-5 13, Olstad 3 0-0 7, Da. Diegel 1 0-0 2, Di. Diegel 5 3-6 13, Taylor 3 0-0 6. Totals: 18 6-11 44

WEST FARGO (18-2): Levin 3 0-0 6, Baltezore 5 1-1 14, Enno 0 2-2 2, Thorson 4 5-6 13, Langerud 1 1-2 4, Lennon 4 3-4 13, Gustafson 1 0-0 2, Stedman 1 0-0 2, Nelson 4 2-2 10. Totals: 23 14-17 66

Halftime: WF 34, VC 14. 3-pointers: McDaniel, Olstad, Baltezore 3, Langerud, Lennon 2. Total fouls: VC 14, WF 16. Fouled out: Woodbury. Rebounds: VC 40 (Olson 9), WF 36 (Thorson, Nelson 6). Turnovers: VC 36, WF 18. Assists: VC 2( Olstad 2), WF 12 (Baltezore 5). Steals: VC 11 (Di Diegel 4), WF 18 (Baltezore 6).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562