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Vance ready to return to basketball team

It's likely no one wants senior Mary Michael Vance to return to the girls' basketball team more than Mary Michael Vance herself.

Sure, the Packers have been without last year's team's co-MVP who has started at point guard since the eighth grade, but it's been Vance who's spent 10 weeks on an exercise bike nursing severe shin splints. She's been the one who's been unable to compete in her favorite sport during her final year wearing Packer green and white. Vance began participating fully in practices just last week.

"I'm just really eager to get out there and start playing again," said Vance, the team's leading returning scorer. "It's been going pretty good, but of course it takes some time getting used to. I'm running a little more and trying to get back into shape."

The Packers split the season's two games without Vance. They followed up a season-opening, one-point loss to Bismarck St. Mary's with a 52-43 win at Wahpeton last week. Junior starting point guard Sadie Doggett had 17 points against St. Mary's and nine at Wahpeton. West Fargo coach Lynette Mund said Vance's return will likely move Doggett to shooting guard, a position currently filled by senior JoJo Haerter, who had nine points and seven rebounds at Wahpeton. The Packers are also awaiting the return of senior shooting guard Sara Dell - also a likely starter - from an ankle injury.

"Getting Mary Michael back is going to be a bonus for us. I've been injured as an athlete before, and you just want to get it all back in one game," said Mund, who won three straight national championships as a basketball player for NDSU in the early 1990s. "Her leadership on the floor is going to be a big thing for us."

Vance said she shouldn't have any problems running the Packers offense. From an entirely observational perspective she's liked what she's seen from some of the younger Packers so far. A majority of the team had little varsity experience going into this season.

"I think everybody is still trying to feel each other out, but it seems to be coming along pretty well," said Vance, who was voted all-conference last year. "I know all the plays and everything from previous years. We do pretty similar things as we did in the past."

Behind Doggett, Packers junior Whitney Adams has been the team's second leading scorer on the young season. She had 14 points at Wahpeton to lead the Packers, including two three-pointers - a shot you don't see from many post players such as she.

"She has a great shot," said Mund. "If she's left open, she'll nail it. She's pretty lethal when she's left open. She's done a good job rebounding and is being aggressive as a scorer."

Results from yesterday's game at Grand Forks Red River were not available before press time. West Fargo plays at Fargo Shanley tomorrow. The Deacons have three players listed at 6-foot-1. The Packers have no one over 5-foot-10 and know they'll be undersized during most matchups this season.

"We have to combat their height a little bit," said Mund. "We'll try to put a little full court pressure on their guards...and try to keep them off balance."

West Fargo 52, Wahpeton 43, Dec. 12th

WEST FARGO (1-1, 1-0 EDC): Doggett 2 4-5 9, Haerter 4 1-5 9, Hartley 1 0-2 2, Green 2 1-2 5, Adams 6 0-0 14, Jones 1 1-1 3, Utter 1 0-0 2, Denne 4 0-0 8. Totals 21 7-15 52.

WAHPETON (0-1, 0-1 EDC): Shaffer 1 3-4 5, Meyer 1 0-0 2, Braun 5 4-4 14, Dahlman 2 0-0 4, Anderson 2 0-0 4, Schradick 2 2-2 6, Rossow 3 1-2 6, Albrecht 1 2-2 4. Totals 17 12-14 43.

Half: WF 28, W 17

3-point goals: Doggett, Adams 2, Dahlman, Anderson, Rossow. Total fouls: WF 16, W 16. Rebounds: WF 36 (Haerter 7), W 41 (Braun 13). Assists: WF 15 (Doggett 6), W 5 (Anderson 2). Steals: WF 11 (Haerter 5), W 9 (Braun, Dahlman 2). Turnovers: WF 14, 20.