Packers not sure what to expect
Packer basketball fans have known this season was coming for a while now. They knew their basketball team would someday be without Tanner Farkas and Seth Dye, two of the most talented players ever to play for West Fargo.
Someday has come, and coach Greg Limke feels he has reason to be optimistic. Although inexperienced overall, many of this season's players received valuable playing time as role players last season. The graduation of seven seniors from last year - including longtime starters Farkas and Dye - has those same players thrust into starring roles.
Limke wasn't ready at press time to name his starting five and said his lineup may change from game to game, or even half to half.
Some of the starters are fairly obvious, including seniors Jason Moch, Mike Benson and Eric Driscoll. Other varsity regulars should include seniors Tyler Gronbeck, Cole Mapes, Alan Neer and Ryan Berglund and juniors Dan Hoy and David Johnson.
Only Moch and Benson (4.2 points-per-game, 2.1 rebounds-per-game last season) played often last season, with both logging more than 500 minutes of varsity action. Each started around 10 games each. Driscoll played 164 minutes on the top squad, while the rest played mostly JV and sophomore ball. Berglund is the only true post player, while Limke said everyone else can be rotated around the court.
It's clear this year's Packers lack experience, but luckily for them, many teams in the EDC are in the same boat.
"Obviously when we had Farkas and Dye we didn't have to worry about who was going to do the scoring," said Moch. "This year it's more of a team unit, where we're all going to be scoring this year. It's going to be a lot more equal scoring across the board."
Packer fans better hope Moch, the leading returning scorer at only 6.7 points-per-game, is right. Moch is also the returning leading rebounder from last year with just over 5.0 boards-per-contest.
"Moch is going to have to score for us this year, and he proved at times last year when we needed that we could go to him," said Limke. "We will certainly have to go to him a lot more this year."
Driscoll, a member of the JV team that went 17-1 last season, said the Packers may be a challenging team to guard if several players become regular offensive contributors as planned.
"It's going to be hard for teams to guard all five. We have quality throughout," said Driscoll. "This year it'll be a chance for a lot of people to step up."
Limke said the team will also be looking for consistent scoring from Driscoll and Benson. The coach isn't mentioning newcomers before they even step into a varsity game, but three sophomores did make the varsity/JV rosters, including Chase Farkas, Tanner's younger brother and the last of the Farkas brother quartet.
All in all, there will be plenty of fresh faces competing at the varsity level this season. Limke said that has its good and bad points.
"It makes you nervous, because there are some unknown quantities, and you don't know what you're getting into, and yet it's pretty exciting," said Limke. "It's like visiting a new place. It's kind of fun, but you're kind of nervous at the same time, and that's kind of how I feel."
Boys start strong
Switching sports here: The Packer boys hockey team is off to a nice 2-1 start with an EDC opening, 5-3 victory of Fargo North last week. Senior Jordan Olstad scored two points and had two assists against the Spartans and is off to a fast start this season. Olstad already has seven points on the year.
Results from Tuesday's matchup against Grafton Park River were unavailable at press time. The Packers host Grand Forks Red River this Saturday.
Girls win first
The Packer girls hockey team won its first game of the young season with a 3-2 overtime win over Minot last week, thanks to a late goal from junior Kelsey Kloos. West Fargo is 1-2 on the year and hosts Devils Lake tomorrow.