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Girls basketball: Packers leave Davies in the dust

West Fargo's Rachel Hummel (32) takes a shot while Fargo Davies' Brook Hildre tries to block during their game last Friday at West Fargo. The Packers won 72-42.

Coming off a disheartening end to the 2009-10 season in which they were denied a state tournament berth, the West Fargo girls basketball team needed a spark to jump-start this year.

They got it Friday, hosting Fargo Davies.

The Packers built on a seven-point halftime lead to topple the Eagles 72-42. Because it was considered a two-point game, West Fargo now sits atop of the Eastern Dakota Conference with Grand Forks Central at 2-0. It's a tenuous position so early in the season, however West Fargo coach Barb Metcalf likes what she sees in her team.

"I was real pleased with our performance" against Davies, she said. "It was good to see, finally, the kind of game they've been working toward in practice."

Metcalf said the chemistry among the Packers is very good. "They treat each other like sisters," she said.

That cohesiveness was obvious Friday. Communication was solid, and passes were quick and accurate. When one player hit a jumper, another was already anticipating the rebound.

West Fargo took the lead early on and never let up. Though the Eagles managed to get within four points after Lauren Haugen was fouled and hit her two free throws, that was as close as they would get.

Starting the second half 32-25, the Packers came out firing when Erin Krogh sunk a 3-pointer off a clean feed from Katelyn Holland. Krogh finished with eight points in the game.

It was all downhill from there for Davies. Except for a two-minute lull late in the half in which neither team did much offensively, West Fargo had an answer for every Eagles threat. Holland led the Packers with 15 points, and her sharp senses were quick to pick out teammates with open shots.

Christine Baltezore also made a splash during her first varsity Packers game. The sophomore was second on the team with 10 points, which included a long, jumping field goal late in the first half that was just inside 3-point range and extended West Fargo's lead by eight.

Hayley Miller put the proverbial nail in the coffin when she nailed a tre with less than two minutes in the game. She finished with eight points on the night.

The Packers will see if they can put a few more wins in their record when they head to Fargo Shanley on Thursday at 6 p.m. The Deacons are 2-0 overall, picking up a 48-45 conference win Saturday against Grand Forks Red River.

West Fargo looked strong and confident during their opener. There is a long road ahead until the postseason, however, and Metcalf said the Packers have their eyes on the prize.

"Our team goal, of course as always, is to make it to the state tournament," she said. "But this year we don't just want to make it, we want to make it to the championship game."