WEST FARGO — There are a nights a team just finds its rhythm early and in Tuesday’s 80-49 loss to West Fargo, the Valley City High School basketball team was on the wrong end of the scenario.
On their home court, the Packers scored 15 points in the first four minutes, and never let up, shooting 62 percent from the 3-point line and finishing 10-12 from long distance in the first half.
“They are definitely a talented team the way it is, and when they’re hitting shots like that, there’s not a lot we can do,” said Valley City coach Scott Hurlimann. “We got down 15-0 and battled a lot that first half. We had some chances to get it down to 10 again but they’re just a very physical, quick, athletic, defensive team and they were hitting (shots) well today.”
For the first nine minutes, the West Fargo attack relied on two shooters: Travis Schock and Caleb Mattila. Schock opened the game with a 3-pointer, a layup, a steal, and another layup to go up 7-0.
Matilla then had a 3-pointer, a steal that led to a layup, and another 3-pointer to make it 15-0 with 14:10 left in the first half.
It wasn’t until another 80 seconds later that Valley City got on the board when Chase Carpenter drew a foul and hit both free throws to put the Hi-Liners on the board.
Valley City soon found a stride of their own, getting 3-pointers from JArod Nelson and Jared Lentz to narrow West Fargo’s lead to 18-8 with 11:41 in the half, but as the half continued, the Packers continued their hot shooting, finishing the first half with a 46-20 lead. The lead included four free throws, and 59 percent shooting from the floor, connecting on 16-27 shots, which includes the 10-12 from the 3-point line.
Though Valley City played stronger in the second half, with the Packers held scoreless from the 3-point line, the Hi-Liners weren’t able to get the game back within reach.
Shock led West Fargo with 21 points and went 5-5 from the 3-point line. He was one of four Packers, including Josh Birrenkkott (16 points), Matilla (15) and Luke Johnson (11) to score in double figures.
West Fargo finished the game shooting 57 percent from the floor on 31-54 attempts.
Carpenter led Valley City with 20 points and seven rebounds. He was helped by Jared Lentz, who shot 4-8 from the floor, including 3-4 from the 3-point line.
Hurlimann said Lentz’s shooting was “great to see.”
“That’s going to be a huge thing going forward for us, that we need Jared Lentz to knock down shots,” he said. “Early in the year he struggled and wasn’t making a lot of shots and now he’s hit for a couple of games in a row and that’s great. We need to see him make shots like that, and if he keeps doing that we’re going to do well in games.”
The Hi-Liners get a week between games. They don’t play again until Tuesday when they go to Fargo for an Eastern Dakota Conference game against Shanley.
West Fargo 80, VC boys 49
VC 20 29 — 49
WF 46 34 — 80
WF: Schock 21, Birrenkkott 16
VC: Chase Carpenter 20, Jared Lentz 11
Jan. 15 @ Shanley , 7:30 p.m.