Deacons run with the Bulls
It's not often that an early season contest in a long season sport has significant merit but an occasion of that sort may have taken place last night just south of 52nd ave. After surviving the second half full court press by the Bruins, West Fargo took a few days off before driving to Shanley for a contest of highly record Basketball teams. On one hand I was curious to see how West Fargo would rebound from the push they were given on Friday night. On the other I was just wondering if one or both of the teams was deserving of top five standing in the state, even so shallow into their seasons. Answers to those considerations and others was very clearly revealed over the 36 minutes of play.
Over the first eighteen there was one player amongst them all that was the best on the court. Jake Kava. His 22 first half points headline the effort but he was playing well on both ends of the court and also within the workings of his teammates. After those 18 minutes he was the A number 1 without a doubt choice for player of the game. Consider if you will that only one other player on either team scored in double figures and while six other Deacons did score over the first half, Jake McKeever was the beta with a mere seven points.
Unfortunately no matter how good Kava or anyone would have been last night it wouldn't have been the story of the start. Nope, that distinction goes to the zebras. They of the Whistle who I don't think went more then 30 seconds of game time without calling a "foul" or finding some reason to interrupt the action. The foul tally was "only" 25 at the break but I & the score keeper both agreed that it felt like many more then that. I wasn't counting but I'd say the number of Whistle's blown was much closer to 40. All in the first half.
It's a credit to both coaches that they were able to navigate the foul trouble for their players so as to not have both of their starting lineups shelled early. But head coach Adam Palczewski took the Bull by the horns, pun intended, and managed the Chess board a little better...actually quite a bit better! After the return from the locker room West Fargo went from down 44 - 33 to having a 10 point lead 2/3 of the way through the second half. They pulled off the 33 - 12 run largely due to the three headed monster of Pistol Pistorius (14), Tanner Zepeda (10) & Luke Lennon (7). Those second half points, in conjunction with cold shooting from everyone not named Jake Kava for the Deacons all but sealed the huge comeback and victory for the west siders.
The choppy game flow in the first half and the dominance by #40 lead to very one sided cheering, as the action allowed. I couldn't help but notice how it changed once the momentum had flipped but that see-saw was the only thing that kept it from having a full fledged playoff feel. Now hopefully, when the playoffs happen the officiating will be 100% better because both of these teams showed that while structured differently, could compete for the Class A title. That's a way's off but is nonetheless a realistic possibility.
If I were asked or forced to choose between the two, I'd almost certainly pick West Fargo. Managing the Bruins full court press was one thing, making the kind of comeback that they did last night is wholly on another level. It shows a degree of talent & mental fortitude necessary for the level of success that each team is working toward but that few will able to achieve! They both have to run the season's gauntlet but if they maneuver it without severe injuries a rematch in a one and done scenario is a likelihood. And a likelihood that would make for near must see status.