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Girls basketball starts season 2-0

West Fargo's Akealy Moton heads upcourt on a fast break against Fargo Shanley last week at the Packer gym. David Samson / Forum News Service

The Packer girls saw plenty of change in their roster over the offseason, but that has not seemed to slow them down, as they start their season 2-0.

They met the Eastern Dakota Conference’s top-ranked team -- the Fargo Shanley Deacons -- on Thursday, beating them 66-61, thanks to hard-nosed rebounding and clutch free-throw shooting.

Shanley standout Sarah Jacobson had 35 points for the Deacons, but the Packers managed to stifle the rest of the team just enough to secure the win.

“We really worked hard as a team,” senior guard Cass Thorson said. “It felt great. We knew they have some scorers on the team, and we worked hard to shut them down. We just wanted to keep attacking and get them in foul trouble.”

The hard-fought game saw the Packers down 30-22 at halftime, but they bursted out of the gate with a 9-1 run in the second half to tie the game at 31.

With just over a minute left in the game, the Pack led by nine points,and the Deacons started fouling. Luckily, Thorson went to the line three times for West Fargo, making 5 of 6 free throws.

“It was a close game, and I knew I had to get those free throws in,” Thorson said. “I knew they were going to come out and foul us, but I felt really relaxed.”

Thorson, who went scoreless in the first half, ended the game with 15 points. Freshman forward Akealy Moton led the team with 17 points, but the Packers had three other players -- Shelby Gustafson, Kaitlin Langerud and Cassidy Nelson -- score in double digits as well.

The girls followed that performance up with a 82-73 victory over Devils Lake on Saturday, where Moton dropped 29 points

Gustafson and Langerud each chipped in with a 12-point performance, and Thorson had 10 points of her own.

The girls will now face Grand Forks Central on Friday night at West Fargo High School.