« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Jeff Kolpack, Published March 13 2013

Baltezore stands about the rest for Packers girls basketball team

West Fargo - It is hard not to notice West Fargo senior guard Christine Baltezore when she is playing on the basketball court.

At 5-foot-6, Baltezore will never be the tallest or flashiest player on the floor, but that doesn’t stop her from making her presence known.

Baltezore plays big. It’s as simple and straight forward as that.

She averages 12.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.

Baltezore does a little of everything for the No. 3-ranked Packers, who play Jamestown at 7 p.m. today in the North Dakota Class A quarterfinals at the Bismarck Civic Center.

“She is the total package when it comes to being a small, feisty guard,” West Fargo head coach Barb Metcalf said. “She puts herself out there and flies around. Even though she is a small guard she plays like a lion. I call her our little mosquito. She is always buzzing in everybody’s ear.”

Another way Baltezore sticks out is she is one of the few players who wear knee pads. She basically is a pair of roller blades and a helmet shy of being ready for a match of roller derby, but instead the knee pads offer protection.

Where there is a loose ball up for grabs, Baltezore more often than not is in the neighborhood.

“It is just one of those things I was diving on the ground so much it was starting to hurt,” Baltezore said. “I put on my knee pads and now I feel I can do that more, because it is not going to hurt me. I just keep going, and I was always taught never to give up.”

Besides basketball, Baltezore runs cross country and track. Her letterman’s jacket is nearly out of room for more honors and patches. Baltezore also excels in the classroom, owning a 4.17 grade-point average, which came in handy when she was applying to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Baltezore was accepted after receiving formal recommendations from Gov. Jack Dalrymple and other state politicians.

“It always was in the back of my mind,” said Baltezore, whose father, Jim, attended West Point. “I always wanted to do something more than just go to college. I wanted to do something to make a difference. … I decided to try it out with their program called summer seminar, where you go out there an experience military life for a week.

“After that, I knew it was something I wanted to do,” Baltezore added. “It was difficult, but I knew I could handle it, and it would be something I would benefit from.”

But before she goes onto Maryland to be a pilot in the Navy, Baltezore has at least two more games to play with the Packers, which will cap of a nice career.

Perhaps no one knows Baltezore better than senior teammate Lexi Lennon, who averages 13.7 points per game and is committed to play basketball at Valley City State.

“Christine and I have playing together since we were 8 years old,” Lennon said. “We tend to find each other out on the floor. We have a good connection, and we know where the other is going to be. It’s been great playing with her all these years. It’s going to be bittersweet when that last game is played.”

Big things are certainly ahead for Baltezore, but this weekend could be big, too.

“You want to enjoy the last moments that you have with your team and you want to end on a strong note,” Baltezore said. “I know we can do that, and I’m excited to see how we do this weekend.”

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