Devils Lake hung around with West Fargo for much of the first nine minutes of Saturday’s game at the Devils Lake Sports Center.
The final 27 minutes belonged to the visiting Packers, who held on for a 65-56 win over the Firebirds.
The two teams exchanged leads 12 times in the first nine minutes of the game until West Fargo’s Travis Schock gave West Fargo an 18-17 advantage. The Packers would never trail again.
“That run proved to be the difference,” said Devils Lake coach Derek Gathman, whose team dropped to 1-2 in the Eastern Dakota Conference and 1-2 on the season with the loss. “We kind of fell apart for a while.”
West Fargo managed to parlay that spurt into a 38-27 halftime advantage by outscoring the Firebirds 22-10 over the final nine minutes of the first half.
Devils Lake did manage to close to within nine points twice in the closing moments of the game. But were never able to complete the comeback bid.
Chase Johnson and Nate Mertens both scored 24 points to pace Devils Lake. Just three other Firebirds broke into the scoring column.
“We need to get more production from everyone that comes off the bench,” Gathman added.
Schock was one of two West Fargo players to reach double figures. He scored a game-high 27 points and teammate Justin Heisler added 14 points in the winning effort.
Devils Lake will play Fargo Shanley on Friday at the Devils Lake Sports Center.
The Packers play at Valley City on Tuesday and will entertain Grand Forks Central on Friday.
West Fargo (65): Travis Schock 27, Justin Heisler 14, Caleb Mattilla 9, Brady Rotert 7, Abdi Sufi 4, Derek Hogenson 2, Ben Huber 1, Kory Wolden 1.
Devils Lake (56): Chase Johnson 24, Nate Mertens 24, Briar LaBeau 3, Tim Gleason 3, Austin Erickson 2.