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Tom Mix, Published March 15 2013

West Fargo defeats Bismarck in Class A state girls BB semifinals

BISMARCK – The West Fargo girls basketball team played as though it was in a hurry to return to the state championship game on Friday.

The Packers’ offense and disruptive defense both got rolling early and the result was a 68-48 victory over Bismarck in the North Dakota Class A state semifinals at the Bismarck Civic Center.

West Fargo (21-3) opened with a 10-2 run during the first 3 minutes, 38 seconds of and never looked back.

“It clicked right away,” West Fargo head coach Barb Metcalf said. “We wanted to have that same momentum that we took off of the Jamestown game (Thursday). We are playing our best ball at the right time of the year.”

The No. 3-ranked Packers held the Demons to 20 percent shooting (4 of 20) in the first half and held a 41-13 edge at halftime.

“We just couldn’t do a lot of what we do,” Bismarck head coach Dallas Hinderer said. “They did a great job of throwing different defenses at us. Ultimately it was our mentality coming out of that locker room. It was a situation where mentally we just were not in it during that first half.”

West Fargo advances to the state championship game and plays No. 2-ranked and defending state champion Bismarck Century at 6 p.m. today.

The Patriots-Packers matchup is a rematch of last year’s title game. Century won that meeting 63-60.

Senior guard Lexi Lennon was two assists shy of a triple-double on Friday, pacing the Packers with 15 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

“Lexi played with a lot of desire,” Metcalf said. “She played like a senior. She is a competitor and she knows how to win.”

Bismarck (16-8) plays Fargo Shanley in the third-place game at 1:30 p.m. today at the Bismarck Civic Center. Naomi Rust scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Demons.

Junior guard Cassidy Thorson added 13 points and eight rebounds for West Fargo. Thorson left the game with a head injury after colliding with teammate Amanda Levin during the second half. She returned to action after being cleared by a trainer and will be available in today’s title game.

Lennon said she’s excited to be playing Century again with a title on the line.

“We are really excited we got here, and we just have to start the game with a lot of intensity like we did (Friday),” Lennon said. “We are a team and it’s a total team effort. We just got to find the open girl that we know is going to knock down the open shots.”

Century and West Fargo did not meet during the regular season.

“We are not the revenge-seeking type team,” Metcalf said of the title game rematch. “We want to prove ourselves. We want to prove we are as good of a program as Bismarck Century.”

WEST FARGO (21-3) Levin 3 0-1 6, Woodbury 1 0-1 2, Baltezore 3 2-2 11, Enno 0 1-2 1, Thorson 4 3-4 13, Langerud 1 0-0 2, Lennon 6 2-2 15, Gustafson 4 1-1 9, Stedman 1 0-0 2, Nelson 2 3-4 7. Totals: 25-53 12-17 68.

BISMARCK (16-8) Meier 0 3-4 3, Hilzendeger 0 1-2 1, Leingang 1 0-2 3, Trolliey 1 0-0 2, Feeney 2 1-2 9, Engelhardt 1 1-2 3, Kiefer 2 0-0 6, Schmidt 3 0-0 8, Rust 5 3-5 13. Totals: 16-47 9-17 48.

Halftime: WF 41, B 13. 3-pointers: Baltezore 3, Thorson 2, Lennon, Feeney 2, Kiefer 2, Schmidt 2, Leingang. Total fouls: WF 13, B 16. Rebounds: WF 39 (Lennon 13), B 28 (Rust 7). Turnovers: WF 15, B 17. Assists: WF 17 (Lennon 8). B 10 (Rust 4). Steals: WF 11 (Levin, Thorson 3), B 3 (Feeney 2).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562