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Packers girls basketball sees season end in loss to Mustangs in East Region tournament

West Fargo Sheyenne's Yasmina Dokara and West Fargo's Mariah Peters battle for position under the basket during the North Dakota East Region girls basketball tournament on Friday, March 2, in the Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.David Samson / The Pioneer

With plenty of young players and a first-year head coach, the West Fargo girls basketball team had plenty to learn this season. But head coach Mike Benson believes the Packers made strides, and this year's seniors have set the standard for years to come.

After beating No. 9-seeded Wahpeton 69-60 on Saturday, Feb. 24, at West Fargo High School in an East Region tournament play-in game, the No. 8-seeded Packers lost at No. 1-seeded Fargo Davies 77-45 on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Davies High School in the East Region quarterfinals. The Packers then saw their season end in a 59-39 loss to No. 5-seeded West Fargo Sheyenne in East Region consolation play on Friday, March 2, at Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

"I think we've really learned what it is to play for West Fargo, to fight and never give up," Packers senior Lauren Limke said. "It's a challenge, but I think all four of us seniors were ready for a leadership role."

Younger players led the Packers in plenty of statistical categories, and Benson said they learned throughout the season as they ended the year 8-16 overall. But for seniors Madison Pearson, Madysen Nelson, Morgan Foss and Limke, their Packers careers come to an end.

"It's a fun road, and I hope none of the underclassmen take it for granted," Nelson said. "It's a short four years, and you have to make the most of it."

Benson said the Packers finally started to click in the final weeks of the season and looked like "a complete basketball team."

"They embraced me and I embraced them. They're such great people, and we'll miss them so much," Benson said. "They showed our younger kids what it means to be a championship person."

In the game against Wahpeton, Abby Donarski led the Packers with a game-high 20 points and team-high six rebounds. McKenna Becher finished with 16 points for the Packers.

In the Packers' loss to Davies, Donarski led the Packers with 14 points while Foss added 12.

Then in tournament consolation play, Becher recorded a game-high 19 points and seven rebounds for the Packers. Foss and Grace Faiman each scored six points while Faiman added three assists.

"We had a slow start," Benson said. "You've got to claw your way back and spend a lot of energy going that. It's hard to win games like that."

Limke said while this is the end of the seniors' careers, she said she's looking forward to new beginnings after high school. Nelson said she'll have countless memories of games and bus rides she can look back on.

"There were lots of tears but lots of smiles remembering all the fun times we've had through basketball," Nelson said. "It's been too much fun we've had together."

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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