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Packer girls finish second in state

West Fargo players Lexi Lennon and Christine Baltezore react on the bench as the Packers lose to Bismarck Century in the state championship game. Kevin Cederstrom / Forum Communications Co.1 / 2
West Fargo’s Shelby Gustafson shoots over Alaina Furcht of Bismarck Century in Saturday’s state championship game. Kevin Cederstrom / Forum Communications Co.2 / 2

The Packer girls’ season came down to the exact same situation as last season and, sadly, ended the same as well.

The team plowed through the competition to make it to the state championship game but once again fell to the Bismarck Century Patriots on Saturday by a score of 73-39.

“(The Bismarck Century coaching staff) told me that was the best game they had played all year,” Packers head coach Barb Metcalf. “I’m not sure there was anything we could have done differently.”

Leading up to Saturday’s game, the Packers topped the Jamestown Blue Jays 71-66 on Thursday and the Bismarck Demons 68-48 on Friday.

The Packers got a game-high 20 points from junior forward Amanda Levin in Thursday’s game, along with 10 points and 10 rebounds from senior guard Lexi Lennon.

“The thing about the Jamestown game is that all of our girls played really well,” Metcalf said. “They were really clicking together and had great chemistry.”

In Friday’s game, West Fargo built up a 41-13 halftime lead and played tight defense to maintain a big edge.

Lennon paced the Packers in Friday’s game with 15 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

“Lexi played with a tremendous amount of desire all weekend,” Metcalf said. “She’ll do well at Valley City State next year.”

Saturday’s game saw a different Packers team – one that made just 25 percent of their shots and failed to reached 40 points for the first time all season.

“My hat’s off to Bismarck Century,” Metcalf said. “They shot the lights out. They were on fire and we didn’t have an extinguisher.”

Despite a rough final game, Metcalf recognizes that her 21-4 Packers still had a very successful season.

“The ability to go back-to-back as state runners-up says quite a bit about the direction this team is heading,” Metcalf said. “As a coaching staff, we work extremely hard not just for the present, but for the future as well.”

The team loses five seniors – Lennon, Christine Baltezore, Jolene Woodbury, Ashley Warner and Alyssa Stedman – in May, but the number of talented players returning to the team leaves Metcalf with plenty of confidence.

“Of course, we’ll miss the seniors, but we’re fortunate that we have some nice juniors coming back,” Metcalf said. “With our size, we may have a different style next year, but I believe we can pick up where we left off. After the sting of this last game, I think the girls will come back ready to go next fall.”