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Tom Mix, Published March 13 2013

Streaking West Fargo heads into boys state tournament hot

West Fargo - The West Fargo boys basketball team is entering the North Dakota Class A state tournament on a roll.

In the month of March, that’s an advantageous position to be in.

After losing their regular-season finale to Fargo Davies, the Packers won all three of their games in the East Region tournament, including a thrilling, come-from-behind 65-58 victory over Davies in the championship game.

The win over the Eagles secured West Fargo’s spot as the East Region’s No. 1 seed for the state tournament, which starts today at the Bismarck Civic Center. The Packers (15-7) open with a 2 p.m. quarterfinals matchup with Bismarck, the No. 4 seed from the West Region.

It has been somewhat of an up and down season for West Fargo, which has qualified for the last eight state tournaments. The Packers never had a winning streak longer than four games this season.

“It has been an interesting season,” West Fargo head coach Greg Limke said. “Just when you thought we were starting to gather some momentum and things were looking good, we would stall for a while. Even in games we would get to the point where we would be playing some good basketball, but we would hit a road block.

“Right now we are playing more consistent and playing closer to 36 minutes of good basketball. We are still not there yet, but we are getting closer.”

West Fargo needed the full 36 minutes to best Davies in the East Region title game. The final three minutes of that game was when West Fargo broke through. The Packers went on a 13-3 run in the final 2 minutes, 19 seconds to earn the win.

“It showed us that we could come from behind and we can trust in each other,” West Fargo senior forward Caleb Mattila said of the comeback. “It definitely makes us tougher for the tournament. Any team can come out hot, but the team that shows up at the end of the game is going to win.”

Six-foot-5 senior Luke Johnson scored eight points in the title game, including a bucket with 3:20 remaining to get West Fargo within two points of the Eagles.

“It is always fun to play in tournament games like that when the game is on the line toward the end and it is tight,” Johnson said. “We were jacked the entire game. … We were not getting our shots to fall at first, but we knew if we kept passing the ball and didn’t force up bad shots the shots would eventually go in.”

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Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562