In a 61-54 win last week against Fargo South, the Valley City girls basketball team played the epitome of a balanced game.
The Hi-Liners five starters —guards Megan McDaniel and Amanda Tangen, forwards Jenna Jacob and Mariah Olstad, and center Allyson Suhr — combined for all but 56 of the points.
Not only did all of them hit double digits in scoring but the lowest scoring starter, Tangen, finished with only two less points than the team’s leaders in scoring, Suhr and Olstad, who had 12. The other two starters had 11.
It isn’t the type of parity that Valley City coach Jim McDaniel expects he’ll see night in and night out. That said, he likes the idea.
“I’d rather have a bunch of players getting some points than one player getting all your points,” he said. “That’s the type of them I would like. That night against South, you can’t get anymore balanced than we had.”
It’s a balance the Hi-Liners hope will carry into tonight’s game against Fargo Davies.
The game starts at 7 p.m. at the Hi-Liner Activity Center.
Last week’s win over South was the second time in as many games the Hi-Liners were able to keep scoring close among players.
In their 53-33 season-opening loss to top-ranked West Fargo, Jenna Jacob led the team with 11 points and Tangen followed with eight. Olstad and Tori Enstad both had had five.
The reason for the balance isn’t exactly clear, but it is clear that players are finding the looks they need to.
McDaniel thinks it’s partially because the offensive system used by the Hi-Liners is team-based and built to give open options around the floor.
“Our whole offensive end and philosophy is to try and get everybody to be a threat,” he said. “When you look at balance, some teams have somebody that really is a scorer and their offense is set up through that one person, where (the way) we’re set up, once the offense gets started, whoever gets that look is going to get the shots.”
That said, the system used by the Hi-Liner tends to skew towards post players.
“Megan McDaniel, she got a couple of good looks and had a couple of points where normally my point guard probably isn’t going to get that many points, but that night (against South) she was able to get a few looks,” McDaniel said.
Granted, two games is a short period of time to jump to any particular conclusions, but so far McDaniel has seen plenty he’s liked, including players dedicated to off season training, better conditioning, and a pressure defense that has fared well so far.
Plus, McDaniel knows that when his team needs some points, there will be plenty of players the ball can go to.
“What I was a little worried about was, as the season goes, are we going to be able to score points? Are we going to have people that are going to take shots and get points?” he said. “And we do have some people that can get some points.”