Packers pressure, balanced scoring proves too much for Davies
West Fargo was solid on both ends of the court to defeat Fargo Davies in Eastern Dakota Conference boys basketball.
FARGO — West Fargo knew it wouldn’t be easy to walk away with a win on Fargo Davies’ home court. Packers head coach Adam Palczewski told his team before the game that if they wanted to win, they’d have to fight for it.
That’s exactly what they did.
The Packers battled to a 77-68 Eastern Dakota Conference boys basketball win over the Eagles on Tuesday, a team they lost to twice a season ago.
“Davies is a measuring stick in the conference,” Palczewski said. “They have five straight conference championships, so if you can come to their floor and beat them, it definitely tells you that you’re a legit team.”
West Fargo was sharp on both ends of the Fargo Davies floor and let its play speak for itself. The Packers head into winter break with some momentum with 3-0 start to this season.
“The last three games, at some point in the game we’ve battled adversity and we’ve gotten down,” said West Fargo 6-foot-5 senior Carter Birrenkott. “But we never let it get to ourselves. It worked out.”
Tuesday’s adversity came in the form of foul trouble and some missed shots. On top of the balanced offense that scored multiple ways and suffocating style of defense, Palczewski said the biggest difference was his bench played together when the chips were down.
“They’re a really good team and we knew that coming in,” Birrenkott said. “We wanted to get going right away. When you get off to a good start, good things can happen.”
The Packers found their shooting touch early, jumping out to an 11-3 lead. Davies had a difficult time stopping Birrenkott, who had nine of West Fargo’s first 16 points.
The Packers forced 13 turnovers with constant pressure and tempo that wore the typically high-scoring Davies (2-2) down. West Fargo’s passing opened up the floor to get plenty of good looks under the basket.
“We always want to share the ball. When we share the ball, our offense is really good,” Palczewski said. “When we don’t share the ball, our offense stagnates. When we got down a little bit and got close, we just kept preaching, 'Share the ball. Pass, cut, play with your team and eventually good things can happen.'"
Birrenkott led West Fargo’s balanced offense with 22 points. Six-foot-5 senior forward Joel Pease posted 19, and Carson Hegerle, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, had 15 before he left the game in the last couple minutes to foul trouble.
The Packers stretched their lead to a game-high 18 points with a 12-0 run. Brady Sauvageau delivered for the Eagles when they were in need of a bucket, putting up four points in a 7-0 run — Davies first consecutive buckets in the first half. West Fargo led 23-12 at that point.
After a slower start to the first half, Eagles senior Owen Hektner got some momentum, chipping in two buckets in a 10-0 Davies run that cut the margin. Hektner posted 15 points in the game.
Down by 18 at one point, the Eagles managed to trim the deficit to eight (38-30) heading into the second half.
West Fargo surged to a 16-7 run to start the second half. Ian Motschenbacher brought the Eagles back within single digits, scoring 11 points alone in the first eight minutes of the second half.
Motschenbacher found ways to score and bring Davies within four, the closest the Eagles would get, but the Packers didn’t ever lose the upper hand.
Davies outrebounded West Fargo 33-19, to win the battle of the boards. The Eagles shot 49% from the floor.
Half: West Fargo 38, Fargo Davies 30
WF: Birrenkott 22, Pease 18, Hegerle 15, Nelson 9, Zepeda 8, Limke 5, Carlson 2.
FD: Motschenbacher 19, Hektner 15, Sauvageau 9, Davis 8, Brown 7, Prudomme 4, Klabo 4, Witte 2.