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BOYS BASKETBALL: Roughriders roar back

Grand Forks Red River started the season with lofty expectations and was picked as one of the top North Dakota Class A boys basketball teams. The Roughriders started slowly, though, losing five of six. They dropped toward the bottom of the East R...

Grand Forks Red River started the season with lofty expectations and was picked as one of the top North Dakota Class A boys basketball teams.

The Roughriders started slowly, though, losing five of six. They dropped toward the bottom of the East Region standings.

On Friday night, things were different. Red River looked like the team the preseason pollsters thought it might be.

Behind a harassing press and 20 points from reserve Jordan Setness, the Roughriders grabbed a 44-27 halftime lead and cruised to a 76-61 victory over Wahpeton at the Red River gymnasium.

Red River improved to 2-5, while Wahpeton dropped to 3-3.

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"We were sick of people asking us about (the slow start)," Setness said. "We had to go out and show what we were made of."

Setness, a 6-foot-3 junior, scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half, many times on hard-working post plays. He filled in for starting forward Drew Grzadzieleski, who sat out much of the first half with foul trouble.

"We've been looking for kids who will spark us," Red River coach Bart Manson said. "Jordan did a fantastic job. This was the kind of win we were looking for."

It didn't take long for Red River to grab control. Leading 23-17 midway through the first half, the Roughriders turned up the defensive pressure to spark an 8-0 stretch and give them a 31-17 lead. Grant Thorfinnson had two baskets in the spurt.

"We've been coming out and pressing right away to try and establish our style of game," Manson said. "It seems like when we do that, we get off to a good start."

The Riders kept rolling to end the first half and start the second. They went on a 14-0 run during that span. Josh Schreiner hit a pair of 12-foot jumpers to start the second half and Paul Hoplin and Andy Sadler added baskets for a 52-27 advantage.

Red River was 28-for-45 from the field and shot 60 percent or better in each half.

Justin Walker chipped in 14 points, Grzadzieleski nine and Schreiner eight for the Roughriders. After a football injury sidelined Walker to start the season, his return has keyed Red River's recent solid play.

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"When Walker got back, we started to get comfortable and started to roll," Manson said. "We've had three good games in a row now. This is what we wanted to do get home and build something."

Jon Kramer scored 17 points to lead Wahpeton.

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