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Mustangs boys basketball scores over 100 points to beat Shanley

West Fargo Sheyenne's Zach Westphal celebrates a basket with teammates Kemal Hajric (32) and Tyler Terhark Fargo Shanley's at the Mustangs gym on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.David Samson / The Forum1 / 4
West Fargo Sheyenne's Christian Kuntz tangles with Fargo Shanley's Tom Erie at the Mustangs gym on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.David Samson / The Forum2 / 4
West Fargo Sheyenne's Tyler Terhark drives to the basket past Fargo Shanley's Jake McKeever at the Mustangs gym on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.David Samson / The Forum3 / 4
West Fargo Sheyenne's Keaton Ballestad grabs a loose ball from Fargo Shanley's Brandon Buisker at the Mustangs gym on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.David Samson / The Forum4 / 4

WEST FARGO—West Fargo Sheyenne may have finally found its identity. After losing a handful of seniors last season that led Sheyenne to its first Class A boys basketball state tournament last season, the Mustangs were searching for the right style to play with a cast of new faces.

The Mustangs like to push the pace and score as much as they can.

The Mustangs scored a season-high in points as they cruised past Fargo Shanley for a 104-70 Eastern Dakota Conference win on Thursday, Dec. 21, at Sheyenne High School.

Since losing at Fargo South on Dec. 5, the Mustangs (6-1, 5-1 EDC) have started a five-game winning streak. Going into their matchup, the Mustangs and Deacons (3-2, 3-2) had a shot at the third spot in the EDC standings behind No. 1-ranked Fargo Davies and No. 3-ranked West Fargo.

"We just had energy," said Sheyenne's Zach Westphal, who ended with a game-high 31 points. "That's just how we need to play every single game. If we come out with energy, that's what's going to happen every single night."

The Mustangs, who scored 97 points in their previous win over Valley City, haven't scored less than 66 points all year. Sheyenne head coach Tom Kirchoffner said the Mustangs offense came together in the Valley City win with the right substitutions and style of basketball. Kirchoffner said the Mustangs still have to work on the defensive end, but the scoring is clearly there.

"We preach defense because we know down the stretch we're going to have to get stops," Kirchoffner said. "It's not always about buckets."

A key for the Mustangs has been Christian Kuntz's return to the starting lineup after he sat out to start the season. Since Kuntz came back in Sheyenne's previous win against Valley City, the Mustangs have scored an average of over 100 points in his two games. The junior guard was a starter last season and finished with 23 points against Shanley.

"We wanted to get up in their face and make them uncomfortable," Kuntz said. "We liked to use our speed to our advantage."

Sheyenne had five players in double-digit points. Tyler Terhark added 14 points, Elijah Charles totaled 13 points and Kemal Hajric scored 11 points. Shanley's Jake Kava led the Deacons with 22 points and Cam Saville added 18.

Sheyenne took an early 15-5 lead, then Shanley replied with an 8-0 run to get within a possession. The Mustangs used fast-paced offense and ball movement in their half-court offense to go on a 32-8 run that started with 11 unanswered points. Sheyenne's defense held Shanley to 15 points in the final 11 minutes of the first half before taking a 51-27 lead at halftime.

The Mustangs continued to add to the lead in the second half, this time with a more methodical offense that drained the clock. Sheyenne went on a 29-5 run after halftime to put the game away.

"We've got a lot of depth and just ran guys at them," Kirchoffner said. "That's what was the key tonight."

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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