The zone trap is a defense Grand Forks Red River has used sparingly this season.
“We like to play man-to-man,’’ Red River boys high school basketball coach Kirby Krefting said. “We’ve used the zone trap a few times. We have the athletes to do it. But you can’t run it the whole game. It’s a defense that offenses can figure out.’’
For the last seven minutes Friday, that defense proved to be a difference maker as the Roughriders rallied past visiting Fargo North 62-61.
With Kobe Springer sparking the defense, Red River went on a 15-6 run to turn a 52-46 deficit into a 3-point lead. Springer had three steals that resulted in layups, two by himself. That included a 3-point play with 2:02 remaining to break a 58-58 tie and give the Riders the lead for good at 61-58.
“Our offense wasn’t clicking,’’ Springer said. “We can play better defense. But we definitely kicked the defense up the last couple of minutes.’’
Springer, shooting 8-of-10 from the field, had game highs of 20 points and four steals.
“Kobe was more of an offensive player at the start of the year,’’ Krefting said. “Now his defense is better than his offense. He reads the ball well and he’s quick.
“We decided to start playing defense the last seven minutes. Up to that point, we were getting out-worked. We needed to find a spark so we went to the 1-3-1 trap. We finally created some turnovers, got to the basket and scored some points.’’
Red River, 10-6, also received 13 points from William Obioha -- including three dunks -- and 11 points from Brady Dvorak.
North seemed to have momentum when it went on a 7-2 run to go up 52-46. Luke Oberg started the spurt with a free throw. Jalen May hit a 3-point shot and Ryan Manly finished it with a 3-point play.
Manly was starting in place of Cayden Rickard, an all-conference point guard last season who was out with an ankle injury.
“I don’t think (missing Rickard) was a big difference for us,’’ North coach Ted Critchley said. “I thought Ryan, usually a JV kid, stepped in and did a great job. Balance got us the lead. That’s not the norm for us.’’
Loberg had 13 points, May 12 and Carter Peratt 11 for North (5-10).
After Springer’s 3-point play for the 61-58 lead, North twice got within a point, at 61-60 and 62-61. The Spartans missed a shot in the final seconds and Dvorak rebounded to clinch the win.
“When they went to the halfcourt trap, they got more aggressive,’’ Critchley said. “We didn’t take care of the ball. And Red River is just more athletic than us.’’