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Freshman sparks Red River win over West Fargo

For a player coming off the bench with a defense-first mentality, Alex Page was a bit offensive Thursday.

The freshman sparked an early spurt that gave Grand Forks Red River a comfortable lead. The Roughriders never looked back in pulling away to a 64-42 girls high school basketball win against visiting West Fargo.

The Packers were within 14-10 with 9:30 left in the first half when Red River went on a 15-4 run. Page scored a basket to start the spurt and also added a 3-point basket and two free throws to account for also half of the points in the stretch.

"I think about playing good defense when I go in,'' the 5-foot-11 Page said. "The points come with the defense. I just try to fit into our offense like everybody else.''

Page has been part of a reserve corps that averages 15 points a game; the backups provided 15 points against the Packers.

"Alex gave us a nice boost,'' Red River coach Kent Ripplinger said. "It's nice to have a player with her ability coming off the bench.

"Our bench is pretty good. We're playing nine girls and we have a lot of confidence in our bench. There isn't a big drop-off when we go to the bench, especially in height.''

Red River built its lead to 34-18 at halftime, then broke the game open with seven points in the opening 40 seconds of the second half. Shelby Frank scored from close range to get the run going, then turnovers led to quick baskets from Kenady Steffan and Jadyn Sondrol, the latter a 3-pointer.

"We got some quick steals and some quick points,'' Ripplinger said. "That set the tone for the rest of the game. Kenady and Maggie (Steffen) up front on defense, they cause a lot of commotion.''

Red River built its lead to as many as 30 points in the second half.

"They (Roughriders) have some long arms and some tall bodies,'' West Fargo coach Mike Benson said. "Defensively, they stretch your offense out with their 2-3 zone. And they really collapse inside. We didn't have a lot of rebounds.''

Steffen's 17 points led the Roughriders. The senior also had six steals for the 5-0 Roughriders. Frank and Sondrol each were just shy of a double double, Frank with 10 points and nine rebounds and Sondrol with nine points and 10 rebounds.

West Fargo (2-3) was led by Grace Faiman with 14 points and McKenna Becher with 12.