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Alan Neer of West Fargo stretches to grab a rebound before Zach Soleim of Grand Forks Red River during the first half of the Tuesday game in West Fargo. Dave Wallis/The Forum

West Fargo Packer boys still undefeated in EDC

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Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

The Packer boys basketball team made the most of its first home game in three weeks when it faced Grand Forks Red River last week. West Fargo snapped a two-game losing streak with a well-played 10-point win over the Riders.

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The pair of losses remains the only two for the 5-2 Packers so far this season. West Fargo remains undefeated in the EDC at 4-0 and travels to Valley City tomorrow for a contest worth two points in conference standings.

Packer seniors Mike Benson and Jason Moch were once again the top scorers for the Packers in the Red River win, scoring 22 and 20 points, respectively. Moch is third in the EDC with 20.4 points-per-game, while Benson is fourth at 18.3.

Thus far in the season, the duo has transitioned well from role players to high scorers after the graduation of Tanner Farkas and Seth Dye. West Fargo coach Greg Limke said his offense isn't designed to only put the ball in the hands of two players; rather it's just worked out that way the last few years.

"It's just mainly a coincidence. We just look for the best opportunity we can get, no matter who that is," he said. "Of course, we'll design things to get some of the guys who are the most able on the offensive end the ball when we can. But we also look to the guys that can kick it out to their teammates and trust they can make their shots."

The coach said he has confidence that his players know their strong points and that they themselves realize their offensive abilities.

"We don't have any problems with people shooting," said Limke, "as long as they shoot their shots. Everyone has the green light as long as they shoot their game shot."

Point guard Eric Driscoll averages 6.7 ppg but also leads the team in assists. The senior said he knows his role and is more interested in wins than personal statistics.

"As a point guard I've learned to be the one to distribute the ball and pass, so I'm definitely fine with those guys making the points," said Driscoll. "As long as I can give a nice bounce pass that will leave them wide open, I'd much rather do that then hit a jump shot."

An apparent lack of selfishness may be part of what has the No. 4-ranked Packers in first place in the EDC after the graduation of seven seniors from last year's team that was also in first place most of the time.

"A few of us guys from last year had just enough varsity experience to come into the season more comfortable, and now the other guys are getting more comfortable after a few games," said Benson. "It helps a lot that we've been playing together since like seventh or eighth grade."

The Packers were also thought to be challenged on the boards due to an overall lack of height. Instead, the one tall regular they do have - Moch - is averaging 7.5 rebounds-per-game, good enough for sixth in the EDC. West Fargo is seventh in the nine-team conference in rebounding margin (+2.6), but the team has been outrebounded only once this season - in its loss to No. 1 Mandan.

"Coach Limke always tells us that rebounding is something that we should be greedy about, that we should go after every rebound like it's going to be your ball," said Benson. "I think that's why we've had a little bit of success so far, because we've been aggressive to the boards. But there's still a lot to improve. We should be aggressive every game."

Results from West Fargo's game against Moorhead earlier this week were not available before press time. The Packers play the Hi-liners (3-3 overall) tomorrow.

"It's huge when you play a two-point game on the road. That could be your biggest game of the year. One game that counts for two, that's a big one," said Limke. "Valley has improved this year and is playing some good ball."

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