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Tom Mix, Published January 21 2014

West Fargo tops Fargo Shanley in EDC girls hoops

FARGO – In the opening minutes, Fargo Shanley appeared well on its way to a nice night on the offensive end of the court.

However, sustained offensive production was not to be for the Deacons.

West Fargo quickly put the clamps down on defense and kept applying pressure until it posted a 56-43 Eastern Dakota Conference girls basketball victory Tuesday at McCormick Gymnasium.

“Defense was definitely the key in this game,” West Fargo senior guard Cassidy Thorson said. “We knew we had to play defense to get the job done.”

The North Dakota Class A, No. 2-ranked Packers (9-0, 8-0 EDC) held No. 4-ranked Shanley (7-2, 5-2) well below its average of 69.3 points per game.

West Fargo entered the game allowing an average of 52.6 points per game.

“West Fargo played very well defensively,” Fargo Shanley head coach Tim Jacobson said. “We probably missed a few shots inside that we would to have liked to make, but credit West Fargo for being aggressive.”

Senior forward Shelby Gustafson scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to pace the Packers. Thorson added 22 points – 17 of which were scored in the second half.

Fargo Shanley jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Packers did not stay contained for long.

The Deacons led 13-10 with 10 minutes, 47 seconds left in the first half. In the time remaining until the intermission, West Fargo rattled off a 12-1 run and led 22-14 at halftime.

“It was one of those nights where the outside shot was not falling for us,” Jacobson said.

Despite the cold snap, the Deacons only trailed West Fargo by 12 points early in the second half after the Packers opened with a 4-0 run.

“With how aggressive we were playing at that point in the game it felt like we should have been up by more than we were, but we knew we couldn’t have a letdown in the second half.”

Shanley showed life with an 11-3 run to get to within two points of the Packers, but Thorson connected for a 3-pointer to regain the momentum with a 32-27 lead.

Thorson connected for three 3-pointers in the second half and was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Sophomore guard Sarah Jacobson scored 16 points to lead the Deacons.

With the win, West Fargo extends its winning streak to nine and sweeps the Deacons in regular-season play. The Packers defeated Shanley 66-61 in the season opener.

“It is a big win for our team,” Thorson said. “It is the halfway point of the season, so we are happy to get the victory.”

WEST FARGO (9-0): Thorson 6 6-6 22, Moton 1 2-5 4, Gustafson 7 10-12 24, Langerud 1 0-0 2, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Enno 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 18-23 56.

SHANLEY (7-2): Jacobson 7 0-1 16, Bucholz 1 1-2 3, Weber 1 0-0 2, Rotunda 3 0-0 7, Fraase 4 0-0 8, Day 1 1-2 3, Erie 1 2-2 4. Totals: 18 4-9 43.

Halftime: WF 22, S 14. 3-pointers: Thorson 4, Jacobson 2, Rotunda. Total fouls: WF 14, S 17. Rebounds: WF 38 (Gustafson 14), S 21 (Jacobson, Weber 5). Turnovers: WF6, S 9.

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