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Packers boys basketball leads conference

West Fargo's Brady Schwartz (22) passes the ball as Fargo Shanley's Dylan Dunn and Kevin Buth defend during their game Thursday night at Shanley High School. The Packers won 64-61. Dave Wallis/The Forum

When asked if he had any words of wisdom for his team after they exited the court Thursday leading Fargo Shanley by a point, West Fargo boys basketball coach Greg Limke just laughed.

"It wasn't me - they motivated themselves," he said.

The team fire was burning bright as the Packers (3-0 EDC, 3-0 overall) went on to beat the Deacons 64-61. It was the first loss of the season for Shanley (3-1, 4-1).

"I think it was a close game throughout. We had a nice lead in the second half, but Shanley came charging back," Limke said.

Though individual players had banner nights, it was a team effort all around.

"Everyone can lead in their own way," Limke said. "I think, a lot of times, you look to one or two guys to lead, but we expect all of our guys to lead by example, either on or off the court."

This rang true by game's end.

Chase Farkas once more led his team in points. Though he was just 3-for-9 from the field, the senior did hit seven free throws from 11 tries and racked up 13 points.

Justin Schock also had 13 points on the night, and led West Fargo with eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

But it was Brock Evenson who raised some eyebrows. The junior made little noise during his debut against Davies the week earlier, but against the Deacons, he let out a roar. Evenson went 3-for-4 from 3-point range, and was 3-for-5 on field goals for 11 points total.

"Brock played real well," Limke said. "He got himself in some spots where he could make plays, and took advantage of the opportunities."

The Packers finished out the week by getting another road win. They went to Devils Lake on Saturday, and defeated the Firebirds 62-54.

This time, it was Schock who really stepped up. The towering 6-foot, 9-inch center picked up his first double-double of the season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Schock has 50 points in three games, and surpassed Farkas to lead the Packers.

Farkas, too, contributed against Devils Lake with 15 points, and Brady Schwartz hit two tres and had 8 points altogether.

Though it still is rather early in the season, Limke said his upperclassmen are stepping up nicely.

"It's early, but you want your veterans to establish themselves during the season," he said. "Chase and Justin took big steps (against Shanley)."

Now, the Packers will get a few days off before back-to-back games out west. They face Bismarck Century (3-0 WDA, 3-0) at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 28, and then Bismarck St. Mary's (1-2, 1-3) at 2:45 p.m. Dec. 29.

But is Limke worried his players will be rusty after the lengthy time between competition?

"We'll give them some timesto spend with their families; that's what's important," he said. "When it's time for them to get serious, they will."