Grand Forks Red River is the East Region girls basketball regular-season champ, the No. 2-ranked team in the state and a contender to win the whole thing.
But first, the Roughriders need to get there.
Red River will need to win a loser-out, state-qualifier at 10 a.m. Saturday against West Fargo Sheyenne to reach the North Dakota state Class A girls basketball tournament in Bismarck after dropping Thursday night's East Region semifinal against Fargo Shanley.
The Deacons rallied from a six-point halftime deficit to beat Red River 49-44 in Grand Forks.
Shanley, which entered the East Region tournament as the fifth seed, will play Fargo Davies for the championship.
Red River, which had beaten Shanley twice during the regular season, dropped to 19-4 overall.
"We just need to rest and recover," Red River coach Kent Ripplinger said. "We'll give it all we have Saturday morning. That's all we can do. Keep the right attitude and I think good things will happen."
The state-qualifying game will be played at Fargo's Sanford Health Athletic Complex on the campus of NDSU. Red River went 2-0 against Sheyenne during the regular season, but one of the games came down to the wire, 75-74.
"One of the things we have to remember as a team is that we get another chance," Ripplinger said. "We've got to bounce back show some heart and come back ready to go Saturday morning."
On Thursday night, senior Alex Page led Red River will a team-high 11 points. Senior Jasmine Sondrol had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Jocelyn Schiller added nine. But the Roughriders were held well under their average of 68.7 points per game.
Fargo Shanley outrebounded Red River 46-34, leading to a 20-4 advantage in second-chance points.
Senior Moriku Hakim led the way for the Deacons with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Junior Emily Srejma added seven points and 14 rebounds, while freshman Maggie Shorma had 10 points.
"We had a hard time shooting all night long," said Ripplinger, whose team shot 28 percent from the field. "Their defense had a lot to do with it. They're a good defensive team. That was one piece of it. The other piece is that we gave up way too many second-chance baskets."
Red River used three-pointers to try to hold off Shanley's second-half charge -- the Roughriders hit seven of them in the game -- but it wasn't enough.
"They had a little bit of a run in the second half that we didn't answer. . . we did answer, but we just couldn't stop it," Ripplinger said. "We got it within one or two, but just couldn't finish it off."
Red River will now turn its attention to Saturday's state-qualifying game.
"We start five seniors who have the motivation," Ripplinger said. "And they'll want it just as bad as they did tonight."
Fargo Shanley 49, Red River 44
Halftime: Red River 28, Shanley 22
Shanley -- Moriku Hakim 17, Maggie Shorma 10, Emily Srejma 7, Kate Busek 7, Mariah Burd 4, Jetta Mevold 3, Lydia Mattern 1
Red River -- Alex Page 11, Jasmine Sondrol 10, Jocelyn Schiller 9, Ella Fosse 5, Kaylee Lancaster 3, Jade Azure 3, Emily Robson 3