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Packers boys basketball pulls out physical win over Grand Forks Red River

West Fargo's Luke Lennon shoots against Grand Forks Red River's Conner Richardson at West Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. David Samson / The Forum1 / 4
West Fargo's Abdi Sufi battles for position against Grand Forks Red River's Brady Dvorak and Pierson Painter at West Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. David Samson / The Forum2 / 4
West Fargo's Joe Pistorius misfires on a dunk attempt against Grand Forks Red River at West Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. David Samson / The Forum3 / 4
West Fargo's Tanner Zepeda drives to the basket past Grand Forks Red River's Kobe Springer at West Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. David Samson / The Forum4 / 4

WEST FARGO—Luke Lennon pulls his sleeves back to show a variety of cuts and bruises to his arms. He said they usually heal up within a game or two.That's to be expected in the life of a rebounder.

In a back-and-forth game, West Fargo outrebounded Grand Forks Red River to go on to an 80-67 Eastern Dakota Conference victory on Thursday, Dec. 14, at West Fargo High School.

The Packers have started the season on a four-game winning streak and stand atop the conference standings. Fargo Davies also started the season 2-0 in the EDC.

"You just move on to the next game," Lennon said. "We just focus on each game and just keep on going."

Roughriders head coach Kirby Krefting said the toughest part about playing West Fargo is Lennon's ability to grab rebounds. He finished the game with seven rebounds to go with 11 points. Abdi Sufi led the team with a game-high 10 rebounds to go with 11 points for a double-double.

Offensively, the Packers had five double-digit scorers and shot 28 of 55 from the field and 8 of 20 from the 3-point line. Tanner Zepeda led the team with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting and made 2 of 4 3-pointers. He also recorded a game-high six assists and three steals. Brett Liebl recorded 15 points on 4 of 7 shooting and made 2 of 4 3-pointers to go with seven rebounds. Joe Pistorius totaled 13 points along with five rebounds and three steals.

Pistorius entered the game with 969 career points so he is now 18 points away from the 1,000 point mark. In their next game, the Packers host Devils Lake at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.

When defenses are focused on Pistorius, Zepeda said finding open shots comes much easier. He feels like he's developed as a basketball player over the summer, so when Pistorius got into early foul trouble, Zepeda took over the scoring responsibilities.

"They just went in," Zepeda said with a laugh. "If you're open, you shoot them. I'm going to keep shooting."

After Red River gained an early lead to start the contest, Zepeda's 14 first-half points led West Fargo to a 19-point advantage by halftime. The Packers shot 15 of 32 from the field and 5 of 12 from 3-point range before intermission.

The Roughriders (2-3, 3-2 EDC) put together a 17-4 run in the first 8 minutes of the second half to get to within six points of the Packers. Jordan Polynice led Red River's charge on offense and ended the game shooting 9-for-29 and 3-for-17 from 3-point range for a game-high 25 points.

"We came out and played in the second half with a purpose," Krefting said. "We showed we could come back from anything."

The Packers played tough defensively from then on and finished the game with a 42-to-33 rebound advantage. Offensively, the Packers pushed the ball to the lane on post touches and drives to keep the lead and stay undefeated for the season.

"We were pushing the ball, making our layups. We were just hustling," Lennon said. "We were just ready for it."

Halftime: WF 40, GFRR 21

GFRR: Polynice 25, Painter 14, Dvorak 10, Stephenson 7, Richardson 5, Springer 3, Benson 3.

WF: Zepeda 16, Liebl 15, Pistorius 13, Sufi 11, Lennon 11, Mertz 8, Moton 4, Holaday 2.

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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