Is there anything better in the playing of sports than rivalries??
RThat is not rhetorical, I'm actually asking.
My answer is a simple no.
Whether it's Vikings - Green Bay, Gophers - Sioux, Bison - Jacks, South - North or the newest of the bunch, Sheyenne - West Fargo, rivalries are just awesome. The players go harder, the fans cheer louder and at times it extends for days, weeks & months past the play on the various surfaces. But for the rivalries to be the most dynamic, both teams have to win. Today's spurring of thought on the topic was a showdown between the Mustangs and the Bulls in high school boys Basketball.
The fans were loud ✔️
The players were giving it their ball on practically every play ✔️
But in the still short history of this cross town rivalry, West Fargo has perpetually had the upper hand at the end of each game in their building.
Which brings us to today. Two of the top four teams in the EDC met on the grounds of West Fargo High for a matinee.
The Mustangs jumped out to a six point lead within the first six minutes of the game as each team struggled to put the ball through the hoop. Once the nerves had settled, the play of each team picked up over the last ten minutes of the first half but for every punch that the Bulls struck, Sheyenne managed to take it in stride & effectively counter with their own offense. West Fargo kept it within single digits to the break thanks to a combined 23 by Luke Lennon & Hunter Lyman but the balanced scoring by the blue clad players helped them stay ahead.
Christian Kuntz lead the way with 12 in the first and chipped in enough in the second to be the leading scorer for the team from the South. In the second half the offense shifted and ran through Tyler Terhark as they continued to have to survive Lennon's extremely quiet onslaught which culminated in a game high 27 points. The second frame also featured seven a piece from Matt Miller & Carter Birrenkott as West Fargo maintained a close proximity. But proximity is all that they could manage to achieve as Sheyenne continued to have an answer for every offensive play that the Bulls ran. As Kuntz got cold, or was taken away - whichever you prefer- Terhark stepped up but they also got Chuck strong as Chuck DuBois chipped in with nine points after a scoreless first half. In total, the Mustangs had six players with at least nine points in the game while West Fargo finished with three scoring more than seven points.
But the stats can't tell the story, not this time. Whether the lead was one point or 10, neither team let up one bit until the time was up. Both teams wanted to win. Both teams wanted to beat the other. The fans helped keep the energy in the gym up, but if they played each other again in an empty gym I think both squad would bring it the same way. It's the beauty of rivalries, the desire can make up for a lot. And this time, Sheyenne's desire pushed them into more new territory. So mark your calendars, because February 8th will be their chance to make it a sweep!
Player of the Game
Coming up big in crunch time more than makes up for the small difference in points between Kuntz & Terhark. So while both were essential to the win for the Mustangs, it's a pretty easy choice this time.
Photo of the Game
For the full gallery from the game, click the pic!