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Packer girls finish sixth in state

Senior guard Cassidy Thorson drives to the hoop in the Packers second game of the state tournament on Friday. Chris Aarhus / Forum News Service

The winter sports season came to an end for West Fargo High School this past weekend, culminating with a sixth-place finish for the Packer girls basketball team in the state tournament.

The team — who was undefeated less than three weeks ago — started the tournament with a 62-59 upset loss on Thursday to Minot, who made a Cinderella run to the championship game before falling to Shanley. They then beat Valley City 67-49 on Friday, but fell to Bismarck Century in the fifth-place game on Saturday.

In their victory over Valley City, senior guard Cassidy Thorson scored her 1,000th career point, becoming just the fourth player in Packer girls history to reach the milestone. She ended her career with 1,013 points, and was named to the all-state team.

“What Cass will be noted for is the ability to play any position,” head coach Barb Metcalf said. “That is where girls basketball is headed, and we are fortunate to have had her for four years. She had the ability to do what we needed without blinking an eyelash. She is so effortless in the way she carries herself on the court. She could score for us, she got rebounds, she brought the ball up and she usually had to defend the toughest player. She really did it all for us.”

Thorson led the team in scoring in two of three games, scoring 17 points — 12 of them off 3-pointers — against Minot and 24 against Valley City.

In their game against Bismarck Century, the Packers were led by junior guard Allison Enno, who scored 16 points and made eight of her nine free-throw attempts.

While Metcalf was pleased with the team’s performance throughout the weekend, she is especially proud of Friday’s game, in which Thorson reached her scoring mark and senior Amanda Levin — out all season with a knee injury — was announced as a starter.

“I was so impressed with how our kids rebounded from the loss the day before,” Metcalf said. “It really shows the team’s character. We played with the team chemistry that we had early in the season. It was a very special game, and one of the most memorable games of my life as a coach.”

Metcalf also expressed confidence in next year’s team, which will have an experienced core group ready to play on opening night.

“You could see that they are hungry to keep our traditions alive,” Metcalf said. “The group of kids coming back resemble a lot of the kids leaving, and that gives me an air of contentment going into next year.”