Pressure-based Runs Get Packers Past VCHS Girls
The way Valley City High School girls basketball coach Jim McDaniel looked at it, his team had two issues in Tuesday night's 67-46 loss to No. 2 West Fargo.
"Two tough runs," he said, referring to both an 18-0 first half run and a 16-2 run early in the second half. "Against good teams, we can't allow them to have runs like that."
Both runs had a few commonalities. One, they broke open the score to keep Valley City from getting too close. Two, they both started when West Fargo went into a full-court press.
The first run started just over three minutes into the game. Valley City had a layup from Dierra Diegel that gave the Hi-Liners a 5-3 lead with 14:53 to go in the half. West Fargo responded with three straight 3-pointers, a long jumper and a few layups to go up 21-6 with 10 minutes left to play.
Valley City eventually got the lead as low as seven, but trailed 32-20 at halftime.
Out of the half, the Hi-Liners scored eight straight points behind Jessica Denholm, Claire Olson and Dierra Diegel, who hit two free throws also put back her own missed layup to narrow West Fargo's lead to 32-28 with 15:41 left to play.
But then West Fargo went back into the press, going on a run that started as 16-2 but later got up to 23-6 before VCHS got some traction, but at that point, VCHS trailed 55-34.
McDaniel acknowledged the difficulties with the press, but said his concerns had more to do with how little shot clock remained by the time his team ran its offense.
"We didn't have a ton of turnovers with the press, but it brought our shot clock to where we're having 20 seconds to get a good look," he said.
When the Hi-Liners weren't having the press, they were led in their scoring runs by Deholm and Diegel, who had the team's highs of 15 and 13 points. Olson and Mariah Olstad also had key points in runs that narrowed the Packers' lead.
West Fargo was led by future Valley City State player Lexi Lennon, who had three twos, three 3-pointers, and went 3-3 at the free-throw line. Shooters Christina Baltezore and Cass Thorson, and post player Shelby Gustafon all finished with 12 points.