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Packer boys win two, take No. 1 spot

West Fargo's Ben Holland shoots over Fargo Davies' Erik Engel Friday, Jan.24, at West Fargo. David Samson

The West Fargo boys basketball team went into last week tied with Fargo Davies for the best Eastern Dakota Conference record.

Now, they are alone at the top.

The Packers picked up two big victories, beating Fargo Shanley 65-64 on Tuesday before getting the best of Davies 65-58 on Friday for their fifth strait conference win and sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the conference.

Offensive rebounds proved to be a key factor against Shanley, as the Packers scored 22 second-chance points while allowing just seven from the Deacons.

Paving the way for the Packers on Tuesday was junior forward Melvin Collins, who had 15 points, 13 rebounds -- six of them on offense -- and six blocks.

Junior center Ben Holland finished the game with 16 points and six boards, and senior forward Travis Schock finished with 12 points, four assists and three steals.

Friday’s game, which pitted the two best teams in the conference, saw the Packers and Eagles tied 31-31 at halftime. The teams would battle back and forth until the end, but two big three-pointers -- including one from senior guard Nick Eisenzimmer with just 28 seconds left -- put the Packers in front for good.

“It was the most emotional game we have played this year, and it was our best competitive effort,” assistant coach Dave Olson said. “We were really happy. (Davies) wanted to win that game too, so it was a real shot in the arm.”

The Pack got a huge game from Schock, who scored 29 points and pulled in 15 rebounds in over 35 minutes on the court. He credits the very large, very lively crowd for his performance.

“That’s definitely the most packed I’ve seen the gym. I’m sure some people get a little nervous with that, but it really pumps me up.”

“The crowd was our sixth man,” Olson said. “When they get into it like that, that gets pretty intimidating, and it gives you a lift.”

Holland also had a strong outing with 10 points and 15 boards.

As a team, the Packers managed to get 55 rebounds (21 more than the Eagles), five blocks and five steals.

“We played great as a team. We knew we would have to come out 100 percent, because they are a great team.”

According to Olson, topping the Eagles is a big a confidence boost as the team can get.

“We have a lot of juniors and a sophomore who haven’t played a lot of varsity basketball, so it is definitely a confidence booster, and we have been really happy with how Travis has taken them under his wing and incorporated them into his game. That’s starting to pay dividends for us.”

The 8-1 Packers hoping to continue their EDC win streak this weekend in two home games, first against Fargo North tomorrow night, then against Devils Lake Saturday afternoon.