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Tom Mix, Published January 24 2014

Packers top Eagles for sole possession of first place in EDC

WEST FARGO – The stands were packed at West Fargo High School to watch the top two boys basketball teams in the Eastern Dakota Conference match up Friday night.

West Fargo and Fargo Davies entered the game with identical 7-1 conference records, but only one would get to 8-1.

The North Dakota Class A, No. 5-ranked Packers claimed a 65-58 win over the No. 3-ranked Eagles by staying on task in the second half.

“It was a big game, and we knew we could come away with the win if we worked hard as a team,” said senior guard Nick Eisenzimmer. “Our defense matched up well, and we got some big stops down the stretch.”

West Fargo (7-3, 8-1 EDC) also hit some big shots in the second half.

Eisenzimmer and senior guard Travis Schock each hit key 3-point baskets for the Packers in the final three minutes.

Schock’s 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 12 seconds left put West Fargo up 60-55. Davies pulled right back to 60-58 in the final minute, but Eisenzimmer connected for a 3-pointer with 28 seconds remaining to push the lead back to five.

“They made some big shots when they needed them,” Davies head coach Bart Manson said of the Packers. “We had them scrambling on a few of those possessions, but they made shots at the end of the shot clock.”

Schock finished with a game-high 29 points and also collected 15 rebounds. Eisenzimmer scored all of his 12 points in the final 18 minutes.

The two teams entered halftime tied 31-31, but West Fargo opened the second half on a 7-0 run.

“We started out well and just kept our momentum going,” Schock said.

Schock and Eisenzimmer also attributed the win to the Packers’ improved defensive play.

West Fargo held Davies senior all-state guard Tanner Kretchman to 18 points and just five in the second half. Kretchman entered the game averaging 30.2 points per game.

Junior center Ben Holland added 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Packers, who take over sole possession of first place in the conference standings.

Senior guard Andrew Kozlowski finished with 15 points and connected for three 3-pointers for the Eagles (8-2, 7-2 EDC).

“We didn’t shoot very well from the free-throw line,” Manson said of the Eagles’ 6-for-16 performance. “We didn’t play with a lot of poise in the final five minutes of the game.”

DAVIES (8-2): Kretchman 7 3-7 18, Berg 0 0-2 0, Schultz 5 1-4 11, Kozlowski 5 2-3 15, Engel 3 0-0 6, Geffre 4 0-0 8. Totals: 24 6-16 58.

WEST FARGO (7-3): B. Heisler 2 1-4 5, Eisenzimmer 5 0-0 12, Schock 10 6-10 29, Sauvageau 2 1-1 5, Holland 4 2-3 10, Sample 1 2-2 4. Totals: 24 12-20 65.

Halftime: D 31, WF 31. 3-pointers: Kretchman, Kozlowski 3, Schock 3, Eisenzimmer 2. Total fouls: D 19, WF 19. Rebounds: D 34 (Kozlowski 10), WF 55 (Schock, Holland 15). Turnovers: D 12, WF 15.

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