Even though the West Fargo girls basketball team dropped two games to Eastern Dakota Conference opponents last week, coach Barb Metcalf is proud of her girls.
"What I was most happy about was our kids never quit," she said. "As far as intensity, I think they're doing a better job of picking it up."
That intensity shows when comparing statistics. Even though West Fargo is 0-2 in the EDC and 1-2 overall, its players lead two categories: Junior guard Katelyn Holland is No. 1 in points-per-game with a 21.3 average, and senior forward Jenna Green is No. 1 in rebounds with a 9.3 average.
The Packers had a rough going Tuesday, Dec. 15, against visiting Grand Forks Red River, losing to the conference rivals 61-48. West Fargo then traveled Saturday to Devils Lake, where it lost 70-69 in a game that came down to the final seconds.
Against Red River, the Packers' biggest undertaking was attempting to control 6-foot-3 senior guard Emily Evers, who towered over the court and racked up a game-high 21 points.
Trailing by nine at the end of the first half, the Packers needed to start the second half with gusto. Instead, the Roughriders managed to go on a nine-point run before West Fargo found its groove.
Sparked by Courtney Voeller's field goal at 14:47, the Packers went on a run of their own and doled out 11 points in short order. They were interrupted only once when Red River's Brooke Borg went 1-for-2 at the line after getting fouled by Danielle Nelson. After chipping away at Red River's lead, the Packers found themselves within 8 points.
That's as close as West Fargo would get.
Leading the Packers with 19 points was Holland, who was 7-for-13 from the field and went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. Following close behind was Green, who racked up 12 points, 8 rebounds and was 2-for-3 on free throws.
Against Devils Lake it was a different story.
"It was a good game," Metcalf said. "They're tough on the road."
The Packers finished the first half with a seven-point lead only to see Devils Lake inch ahead during the second half.
With 33 seconds left, West Fargo trailed by seven points.
"We had three seconds left on the clock," Metcalf said. "I ran a real simple inbounds play to get to the three-point line. I was looking for Jenna Green to get the ball and she was kind of pushed down on the play, but no call.
"It was just kind of one of those things; it could have gone in our favor."
The Packers had four starters hit double digits in the game: Holland (18 points), Green (14 points), Carissa Becher (13 points) and Voeller (12 points). Green also snagged 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
"We really need that if we want to win EDC games," Metcalf said, of her starters. "I said it in the beginning; there is such a small margin of error in the conference."
Still, she would like to see other players step up throughout the rest of the season.
"The main thing right now is to develop other scorers besides Katelyn Holland," she said.
The Packers played at Fargo North on Tuesday, the results of which were not in when this edition of the Pioneer went to press. West Fargo doesn't play again until Monday, Dec. 28, when Bismarck Century comes to town for a 6 p.m. tipoff.
The Packers also host Bismarck at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29.