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Packer girls top Valley City, South

Alison Enno of West Fargo works the ball around Michelle Bruer of Fargo South during the Friday, Jan. 10, game at South. Dave Wallis1 / 2
Cassidy Nelson of West Fargo drives past Emily Stroup of Fargo South during the Friday, Jan. 10, game at South. Dave Wallis2 / 2

The Packer girls refuse to let up this season.

The team earned two more victories last week to remain undefeated on the season.

They started the week with a 55-51 win over Valley City on Tuesday evening.

In that game, senior guard Cassidy Thorson led the team with 19 points.

Junior guard Allison Enno also scored in double digits, tallying 10 points.

Senior center Shelby Gustafson scored seven points, but also pulled down 15 rebounds.

The Pack followed up that close victory with a 73-51 over Fargo South on Friday evening.

While they ended up winning by a reasonable margin, the first half didn’t look as promising as the second, as lackadaisical defense from both teams saw the Packers leading by just eight points at halftime.

“We really started out slow for us,” senior forward Kaitlin Langerud said. “We definitely picked it up in the second half and started working as a team.”

Head coach Barb Metcalf echoed that sentiment, saying her team needs a push every once in a while.

“We tend to play to the level of our opponent, and we talked about after the game,” Metcalf said. “We need to have that killer instinct right away. When we start playing better defense, the shots start falling and we start passing the ball better. I was really pleased with the second half. We made some good adjustments.”

The Packers made improvements in the last 18 minutes, thanks in part to Langerud who managed to find the open spot in the lane on several occassions. She finished the game with 19 points, five rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot.

Kaitlin is a silent player. She saw the middle opening in their (the Bruins’) slacking man defense. She is kind of our X factor.”

Thorson led the team once again in scoring, tallying 20 points this time. She also had six assists and five rebounds, three of which came on offense.

Gustafson had her second consecutive double digit rebounding performance, pulling down 11. She also had 14 points in the game.

The Packers’ defense came around, as they ended the game with 25 defensive rebounds, four blocked shots and 13 forced turnovers.

“The team that plays the best man-to-man defense at the end of the year will be the state champions,” Metcalf said. “That is why Bismarck Century is a two-time state champ, and we want to emulate that.”

While their defense has been a high point, Metcalf points to the team’s unselfishness as their greatest strength.

“We share the ball so well,” Metcalf said. “The shots fall easier when the girls don’t feel the pressure to score. I’m not saying there won’t be some tough games, but I feel these kids are ready to step up to that grind.”

The 7-0 Packers have a 1.5-game edge over second-place Fargo Shanley in the Eastern Dakota Conference, and they will face the Deacons on Tuesday evening at 5:45 p.m.