Fargo Davies turns offense into defense in runaway win over West Fargo
Fargo Davies has 19 steals and scored 20 points off turnovers in EDC victory
WEST FARGO — Fargo Davies’ swarming defense turned steals into transition buckets over and over as it defeated West Fargo 74-56 in Eastern Dakota Conference girls basketball on Monday at West Fargo High School.
The Eagles (4-0) had 19 steals and 9 blocks and scored 20 points off turnovers. Senior Ryleigh Wacha had six steals for Davies and Makayla Selensky and Brooklyn Koenig each had three.
“Our defense transitions into our offense,” Davies senior Ryleigh Wacha said. “And playing good defense stops them from scoring. It really gives us a boost.”
Davies started slow as West Fargo’s zone defense gave them fits over the first several minutes, trapping them into corners and limiting their passing. But after about 7 minutes, the Eagles settled down and got rolling and never looked back.
“We just had to slow down mentally and focus on not taking the first shot,” Wacha said. “We needed to move it around more and look for that open shot, getting the best look possible.”
A Wacha make with 11 minutes to go in the first half tied the game at 10 and set the Eagles off on a 22-4 run that finished with the Eagles leading 30-14.
Taylor Safranski gave the Eagles their first lead 12-10 after the Wacha basket. She stole the ball at midcourt, turned around and made a jumper at the elbow. She followed that up with another jumper to make it 14-10. And the Eagles took off from there. Wacha scored 8 and Jenna Leingang made two 3-pointers in the run.
“We pushed the ball but we were under control when we pushed it,” Davies coach Tonah Safranski said. “We took the opportunities to make open shots and forced them to play defense. We ran our sets pretty well and played an overall good team game.”
The Eagles scored five points in the final five seconds of the first half to head into the break leading 41-24. Wacha got a rebound and went coast to coast and drained a floater from just inside the free throw line while drawing a foul. She missed the free throw, but Fey grabbed the rebound and put up a shot. Fey missed the shot and made 1-of-2 free throws. Wacha then intercepted the inbounds pass and made a layup at the buzzer.
“Coach told me to go onto the ball and defend it,” Wacha said. “It was almost like she just passed it into my arms. I didn’t really have to work too hard for that. I just turned around and put it in and it was pretty fun.”
A 14-2 run early in the second half pushed the Eagles lead to 59-28 with about 10 minutes to go and they were able to coast to the finish line from there.
The Packers finished the game on a 21-6 run, but it was too little too late as the Eagles had it wrapped up.
Wacha stuffed the box score, finished with 16 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, six steals, and two blocks. Ava Wild added 11 boards for the Eagles, who outrebounded the Packers 42-36.
Taylor Fey scored a game-high 18 points and had a block and four assists. Taylor Safranski scored 11 and Brooklyn Koenig scored 10, and Jenna Leingang scored 9 on three 3-pointers.
“It was nice to see Jenna come in and make some shots,” coach Safranski said. “And I also thought Taylor Safranski made some big shots early in the game that were nice. It was nice to see her have a couple shots go down.”
The Packers were led by Miriley Simon’s 16 points and Chloe Pfau’s 13. Simon helped West Fargo jump out to an early lead in a back-and-forth first several minutes. She six of her team’s first 10 points in an opening 7 minutes that saw the game tied four times.
Fargo Davies was ranked No. 2 behind only Bismarck Century in last week’s North Dakota Class A AP Poll. The Packers were No. 4 in that poll and entered Monday’s game undefeated.
“It’s a good start, but it’s a long season,” Safranski said. “We don’t have any games over Christmas Break, so we’ve got some time to practice. We want to continue to improve as players and as a team.”
HALF: Fargo Davies 41, West Fargo 22
FD: Fey 18, Wacha 15, Safranski 11, Koenig 10, Leingang 9 Wild 5, Selensky 3, Vettel 2.
WF: Simon 16, Pfau 13, Diemert 8, Walsvik 7, Giesen 7, Peterson 5.