Once again, the West Fargo boys basketball team successfully earned a berth to last weekend's North Dakota Class A State Tournament in Fargo.
But for the second year in a row, hopes of placing were thwarted in just two games.
After finishing in fourth place at the East Region tournament the week before, the Packers were paired with West No. 1 Mandan in Thursday's opening round.
The Braves quickly built a lead in the first half that reached a nine-point spread after a pair of three-pointers with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left.
Those would be the last shots Mandan scored in the remaining minutes as the Packers' defense stifled and their offense went on a tear.
Brady Rotert sparked a 12-point West Fargo run in which he scored five of gus seven first-half points, the result of which was a 33-30 Packers' lead when the buzzer sounded.
Justin Heisler, who had a team-high 22 points on the night, Andy Young, and Rotert kept momentum in the Packers' favor as the team built a 13 point lead with 4:25 to go in the game.
It was all downhill from there.
The Braved clawed out from their hole, as Devin Coyle hit a floater with 3 seconds remaining that tied the game 60-60 and would eventually force overtime.
The Packers tried to hang on, but another 3-pointer by Coyle (he had six tres on the night en route to a game-high 26 points) with 25 seconds into overtime all but sealed the win.
Young was 8-of-9 from the floor and put up 18 points, while Rotert chalked up 11.
Mandan went on to win 67-62.
Friday's game between West Fargo and Bismarck St. Mary's was much closer (there were at least nine lead changes in the second half alone), but the Saints still wound up winning 66-61.
Heisler once again paced the Packers with a team-high 15 points, 14 of which came during the first half. The 6-foot, 2-inch junior guard was West Fargo's lone representative on the All-State Tournament Team.
Sophomore Travis Schock also had a big night, as he scored 11 points, and Young scored eight points to bring his two-game weekend total to 26.
West Fargo may not have placed, but they still made it to yet another state tournament. And at 12-12 on the season, that's saying something.
While they will lose some veterans, such as in Landon Uetz, Young, Brock Evenson, and Dustin Null, to graduation, a bulk of their starters should be returning for the 2012-13 season.