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Tom Mix, Published December 12 2013

No. 5-ranked West Fargo tops No. 2 Fargo Shanley in EDC girls basketball

WEST FARGO – Every possession was important, every loose ball was a must have, and every free throw was crucial.

That about sums up any girls basketball game played between Fargo Shanley and West Fargo. Thursday was no exception.

West Fargo hung on to edge Fargo Shanley 66-61 in the Eastern Dakota Conference opener for both teams at West Fargo High School.

The No. 5-ranked Packers (1-0, 1-0 EDC) led 59-50 with 1 minute, 25 seconds remaining, but No. 2-ranked Shanley (1-1, 0-1) rallied and got as close as two points in the final minute.

West Fargo senior guard Cassidy Thorson connected on 5 of 6 free-throw attempts in the final 22.4 seconds to seal the victory.

“We worked hard as a team,” said Thorson, who finished with 15 points. “We knew they were going to be fouling down the stretch, so it was just a matter of getting the ball in clean, getting to the line and making the shots.”

All of Thorson’s points came in the second half, which was when West Fargo’s offense came alive.

The Packers outscored Shanley 44-31 in the final 18 minutes and started the second half on a 9-1 run to tie the game 31-31.

“The fans definitely got their money’s worth with this game,” West Fargo head coach Barb Metcalf said. “It was just two feisty teams battling it out. We told the girls at halftime they just had to want it more. We were a half-second late with a few things in the first half, but we bounced back in the second half.”

Shanley led 30-22 at halftime after closing the first half on a 10-2 run.

“I thought we played well,” Fargo Shanley head coach Tim Jacobson said. “Both teams have young players, and they really got thrown into the fire tonight. West Fargo is a good team, and we had to battle back.”

Shanley sophomore guard Sarah Jacobson led all scorers with 35 points, connecting for five 3-pointers and going 16-for-18 at the free-throw line.

Jacobson hit back-to-back 3-pointers with less than two minutes left to get Shanley in striking distance.

Shanley had a possession that ended in a turnover trailing 61-59 with 39.7 seconds left.

“Defensively I thought we did some nice things,” Tim Jacobson said. “Once we improve on our execution, we should be fine.”

All five of West Fargo’s starters scored in double figures. Freshman Akealy Moton led the Packers with 17 points.

Junior forward Somer Bucholz added 15 points for the Deacons.

SHANLEY (1-1): Jacobson 7 16-18 35, Fraase 0 2-2 2, Day 0 0-2 0, Bucholz 6 2-3, Weber 0 2-2 2, Dietz 0 0-1 0, Saville 1 0-0 3, Nistler 1 0-0 2, Rotunda 0 2-2 2. Totals: 15 24-30 61.

WEST FARGO (1-0): Thorson 2 9-10 15, Langerud 3 2-2 10, Moton 6 5-12 17, Gustafson 3 5-8 11, Nelson 5 2-4 12, Sand 0 0-4 0, Enno 0 0-1 1. Totals: 19 24-42 66.

Halftime: S 30, WF 22. 3-pointers: Jacobson 5, Bucholz, Saville, Thorson 2, Langerud 2. Totals fouls: S 28, WF 24. Fouled out: Fraase, Bucholz, Moton, Enno. Rebounds: S 29 (Dietz 9), WF 28 Gustafson 9). Turnovers: S 17, WF 14.

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