Red River wins girls basketball opener over Minot
Three-point shooting kept Minot close Saturday. But it was Maggie Steffen's clutch 3-point basket that clinched a win for Grand Forks Red River.
Steffen's field goal from the baseline with 1:21 remaining gave the Roughriders a 57-51 lead en route to a 61-54 victory in the girls high school basketball season opener for both teams at Red River High School.
Minot made nine treys in the game compared to the Roughriders' three. But Steffen's first 3-pointer of the game gave Red River some breathing room in a game it led from start to finish.
"That (3-point shooting) is probably one of my strengths,'' the senior said. "I hadn't hit one all day. I was iffy taking that shot. But I figured one would go down. I felt confident.''
Said Red River coach Kent Ripplinger: "That was a really big shot. We were in a bit of panic mode. But we came out of a timeout, ran our offense, got the ball to a veteran senior and Maggie took a good shot. Fortunately, it went in.''
Steffen's shot started a game-closing 7-3 run, with Shelby Frank scoring from close range and Jadyn Sondrol hitting a pair of free throws.
Minot put up 32 treys, half of its total field-goal attempts.
"We hope (the 3-point shooting) is there every night,'' Minot coach Bernie Wasser said. "We had some good looks in the post. Usually that's a strength for us, but we struggled there. Red River is pretty long. We took what they gave us. That was on the perimeter. Fortunately, we were hitting them.''
Red River never trailed after jumping to a 10-1 lead.
Four times, the Riders built leads ranging from nine to 13 points, only to see Minot cut the deficit to five or fewer points. Minot's last run came when it rallied from a 53-43 deficit with 4:05 left to move to within 54-51 on a Brooke Nelson field goal with 1:54 remaining.
"For a first game, it's not surprising the way it went in spurts,'' Steffen said. "We have to work on being more consistent.''
Sondrol finished with 18 points, Steffen 17 and Frank 12 as the trio dominated Red River's offense.
Becca Tschetter's 20 points led Minot, with Alli McCoy adding 10.
"I thought our inside defense did a great job,'' Ripplinger said. "We are young and inexperienced. We have to get more consistent. We have to get better.''