BOYS BASKETBALL: Red River defeats rival Grand Forks Central 69-64
FARGO — With leading scorer Chad Bartosh battling foul trouble, junior Shayden Keplin emerged as the go-to guy for Grand Forks Red River in the consolation semifinals of the North Dakota East Region high school boys basketball tournament Friday.
Keplin scored a team-high 22 points, including 13 points in the second half, to help the Roughriders defeat rival Grand Forks Central 69-64 and keep their hopes of advancing to the state Class A tournament alive.
Red River (14-7) will be back at the Bison Sports Arena at 12:45 p.m. today to face Fargo South in the state-qualifying game. Central (8-14) had its season ended.
“It was just open looks really,” said Keplin, who was also 8-for-8 from the foul line. “I got good screens from my teammates and had a lot of openings.”
The Roughriders, who faced a 34-32 halftime deficit, forged into the lead for good early in the second half. Red River scored the first 11 points after halftime. Keplin sparked that surge with two free throws. The Roughriders took a 43-34 lead after sophomore Carson Dennis scored a basket with 13 minutes, 40 seconds to play in the second half. Red River never trailed after that stretch.
Central cut the Red River lead to 67-64 after senior Jake Wavra sank a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining. Red River countered with two free throws from Ryan Enerson with 16 seconds remaining for the final margin.
“Central fought back really well I thought,” Keplin said. “We knocked down some free throws, some big ones.”
Junior forward Jake Mussman paced Central with a game-high 28 points. Bartosh finished with 10 points for Red River, less than half has his season average.
“There were quite a few times there where we were down, but were able to fight our way back into it,” said Central coach Dan Carlson. “We just came up a little short at the end. But give Red River credit for the way it was able to hit its free throws at the end.”
In the other consolation semifinal, Travis Schock scored a game-high 27 points to lift West Fargo to a 62-40 victory over Fargo North.