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Kevin Schnepf, Published March 07 2014

West Fargo tops Valley City in East Region girls basketball tournament

FARGO – When Alison Enno had to leave the game with a hip injury, it was business as usual for the West Fargo girls basketball team Friday. Its been there, done that.

Withstanding a season full of injuries, West Fargo rallied down the stretch to claim a 59-47 win over Valley City in the championship semifinals of the Class A East Region tournament at the Fargo Civic Center.

“You definitely hate to see that happen,” said West Fargo senior Cassidy Thorson said, referring to Enno’s injury. “But that’s when someone else has to step it up.”

The Packers, who earned a third straight trip to the state tournament, have been stepping it up even before the season began. Returning guard Amanda Levin has been sidelined all season with a knee injury. Then 10 games into the season, freshman starter Akealy Moton was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Living up to their team motto – “One team, one dream” – the Packers have still managed to build a 20-1 record heading into today’s 6 p.m. championship game at the Bison Sports Arena.

“You can shut down one of our players, but not all of them,” said Packers head coach Barb Metcalf.

Enno, who filled in at starting point guard after Moton went down, left Friday’s game with 9:04 remaining. She’s expected to play in today’s title game.

About four minutes later, Valley City had a 42-41 lead with 5:16 remaining.

That’s when Thorson, a three-year starter, came to life. Thorson, who had 35 3-pointers for the season, drained her first and only three-pointer of the game to give the Packers a 45-42 lead.

“I thought when I shot it it was too strong,” said Thorson, who finished with 12 points. “It felt good to finally see one go down.”

Seconds later, Thorson made two free throws to make it 47-44. With 2:30 remaining, she fed Kaitlin Langerud for a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Packers a 50-45 lead.

Kennedy Sand, who came off the bench for Enno, then scored six straight points to give the Packers a 56-47 lead with 1:12 remaining.

“I thought that was a momentum changer when Cassidy hit that three,” Metcalf said. “She got that look in her eyes. She can definitely take over a ball game.”

Valley City, which made only 15 of 33 free throws, will take its 14-7 record into today’s 11 a.m. state-tournament qualifying game against Wahpeton at the Bison Sports Arena.

VALLEY CITY (14-7): Di. Diegel 6 5-10 17, Denholm 4 1-2 11, Madison 2 0-0 4, 1 3-8 5, Olson 2 1-2 5, Klingenberg 0 2-2 2, Da. Diegel 0 3-9 3. Totals: 15-44 15-33 47.

WEST FARGO (20-1): Enno 2 4-4 8, Langerud 3 0-0 7, Wentz 0 1-3 1, Sand 1 4-4 6, Thorson 4 3-4 12, Nelson 5 3-4 13, Gustafson 5 2-6 12. Totals: 20-49 17-25 59.

Halftime: Valley City 26, West Fargo 25.

3-point goals: Denholm 2, langerud, Thorson. Total fouls: VC 20, WF 21. Fouled out: Di. Diegel, Langerud. Rebounds: VC 30 (Dieterle 7, Da. Diegel 7), WF 39 (Nelson 11, Gustafson 9). Turnovers: VC 16, WF 13.

Fargo Shanley 47, Fargo Davies 39

Points were hard to come by, but the smiles weren’t after Fargo Shanley earned another trip to the state tournament.

Shanley relied on defense to claim a 47-39 win over Davies in its championship semifinal, earning its third straight appearance in the East Region championship game. The Deacons play West Fargo today at 6 p.m. at the Bison Sports Arena.

“It was all about defense tonight,” said Shanley junior guard Jackie Day. “It was just a tough game. We just had to push through it.”

Twice, Shanley built leads of seven points in the second half. But Davies would not go away – trailing only 42-39 with 3:20 remaining.

Davies failed on four possessions to cut into that lead.

Then with 45 seconds remaining, Day made one of two free throws to give Shanley a 43-39 lead.

“That one felt good,” said Day, who finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds. “But I felt really, really good about our defense.”

Sarah Jacobson, who led all scorers with 17 points, drained four free throws in the final minute to give Shanley its cushion.

“Davies put up a great defense and we played extremely well defensively,” said Shanley head coach Tim Jacobson, whose team improved to 19-2. “It became a grinder but we hit some shots when we had to. We’re fortunate and happy to be going to state again.”

Davies will take its 15-6 record into today’s 2:30 p.m. state-tournament play-in game against Grand Forks Red River.

FARGO DAVIES (15-6): Hildre 3 0-0 6, Klabo 3 4-6 11, Kelly 0 0-0 0, Erickson 1 0-1 2, Bergantine 0 0-0 0, Papachek 0 0-0 0, Kottsick 0 0-0 0, Olson 5 2-2 12, Malmanger 4 0-0 8. Totals: 16-49 (FG), 6-9 (FT).

FARGO SHANLEY (19-2): Dietz 0 2-2 2, Jacobson 4 7-8 17, Fraase 4 2-2 10, Erie 2 0-0 4, Buchholz 0 0-2 0, Rotunda 1 1-2 4, Day 4 2-4 10. Totals: 15-57 (FG), 14-20 (FT).

Halftime: Shanley 23, Davies 17.

3-point goals: Klabo, Jacobson 2, Rotunda. Total fouls: FD 15, FS 13. Rebounds: FD 38 (Olson 11, Klabo 9), FS 41 (Fraase 10, Day 8). Turnovers: FD 19, FS 12.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor

Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be

found at www.areavoices.com