A 14-0 run early in the first half set the tempo for West Fargo Sheyenne Tuesday.
By Harry Lipsiea
Beating the press can be one of the most difficult things to do in the game of basketball. It was an area the Devils Lake girls basketball team struggled with Tuesday evening at home. A scrappy, athletic West Fargo Sheyenne squad used aggressive defensive pressure to jump on its opponent early and never looked back.
The Mustangs defeated the Firebirds 68-44 at the Devils Lake Sports Center. With the win, Sheyenne improves to 3-6 while Devils Lake drops to 2-6 in EDC play.
"Give them credit, they came out ready to play. That press gave us a lot of trouble from the start. We had way too many turnovers and could never find any consistency on the offensive end. It was a combination of decision making and just not executing by throwing the ball away," Devils Lake head coach Justin Klein commented.
After a nice start for Devils Lake, Sheyenne took the lead and never looked the back. After early buckets by Mattisyn Barendt and a jumper by Jessica Mertens, the Firebirds led 9-6.
From there, the Mustangs went on a 14-0 run. Between buckets by Tara Lewis and Annie McIntosh, the squad took a 20-9 advantage.
"We had that early lead and I thought we had some nice looks to extend. All of a sudden, their press took over and we were throwing the ball all over," Klein added. "They set the pace of the game and we had a hard time getting anything going.”
The Mustangs continued to control the action after that big stretch. West Fargo Sheyenne led 37-20 going into the locker room at the half.
The were a couple moments during the game when it looked as if the Firebirds would make a run. But ultimately, Devils Lake never got closer than 13 points. A big part of that was 22 points in the second half from Kierra Freih.
Klein felt the team played a bit better in the second half, but missed opportunities and big plays by the Mustangs stalled potential scoring runs.
"That was the frustrating thing. Whenever I thought we could cut it inside 10 points, we would make a mistake or they would hit shot to take our momentum away," Klein added. "Give them credit, they never let us back into the game."
Sheyenne went on to win 68-44.
The Mustangs were led by Freih with 26 points.
Macy Schneider finished with a team-high 12 points for Devils Lake. Mertens added eight points while Mattea Vetsch finished with seven points. Mattisyn Barendt scored four points while Abby Johnson, Taylor Windjue, Alex Palmer and Averi Ziegler scored three points apiece. Jenna Windjue rounded out the scoring with a point.
"We had two close losses leading into this game and I thought we had some confidence," Klein stated. "This one hurts. It was a disappointing loss."
In its next action, Devils Lake hosts Fargo North Friday evening.