Since joining the Grand Forks Red River boys basketball program 16 years ago, Kirby Krefting can't recall another season in which the Roughriders had only one senior starter.
Dan Carlson goes back even farther at Grand Forks Central, joining the Knights' coaching staff in the 1993-94 season. This is the youngest starting lineup he can recall-like Red River, with one senior starter.
"You go through cycles,'' Carlson said. "I don't think it happens very often that both teams are in the kind of cycle we're in.
"We have strong junior and sophomore classes.''
Youths clash when Red River hosts Central at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, with the Central/Red River girls basketball game to follow.
Currently, 1-7 Central's starting lineup is senior starter Chris Demuth (19.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg), junior Caden Fultz (6.1 ppg) and sophomores Alex Barbot (7.1 ppg), Mason Love (5.4 ppg) and Mason Gravseth (8.6 ppg).
Red River (5-3) counters with a lineup of senior Jackson Feller (10.6 ppg), juniors Brady Dvorak (20.3 ppg, 3.8 apg), Bryce Enerson (11.4 ppg) and Cole Benson (4.4 ppg) and sophomore William Obioha (13.4 ppg).
"We're similar to Central in that we're both pretty athletic and have some good shooters,'' Krefting said.
Wary of Riders' defense
Grand Forks Red River's girls basketball team averages 15.9 steals a game-a concern for Central coach D.J. Burris.
"Turnovers have been an issue for us,'' Burris said. "We have to take better care of the ball.''
Red River's defense is led by Kenady Steffan (10.1 ppg, 4.1 spg), Jadyn Sondrol (16.1 ppg, 2.6 spg), Alex Page (10.8 ppg, 2.3 spg) and Karlie Robson (3.5 ppg, 2 spg). Shelby Frank (10.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2 bpg) is a presence inside for the 5-3 Riders.
"Our defense is what gets our offense going,'' Roughriders coach Kent Ripplinger said. "We have good length at some positions and pretty good speed at others.''
Haley Gereau (8.1 ppg) leads the 0-7 Knights.
Hockey teams looking for offense
Grand Forks and East Grand Forks Senior High will look for an offensive boost when the girls hockey teams meet at 7 p.m. today in East Grand Forks.
Heading into Monday's game against Park Rapids, Senior High (8-5-2) had 13 goals in its previous five games, 10 of those in a win against Crookston. Grand Forks (6-5-0) has 10 goals in its last five games, seven coming in a win against Park Rapids.
"It's been a competitive thing,'' Green Wave coach Brian Larson said. "We've played very talented teams like Roseau and Warroad lately. Other than the top teams on our schedule, we've managed to score.''
Madison McDonald (15 points-10 assists) and Kendra Emery (6-12) pace the Wave. Megan Birkholz (2.92 goals-against average, .894 save percentage) has been strong in goal.
Abby Schauer (10-6), Katelin Petersen (4-9), Shaley Richards (4-8) and Morgan Stenseth (7-3) lead Grand Forks.
KnightRiders coach Alex Hedlund said her team also is in a stretch of tough competition. "We have players who are capable of scoring,'' Hedlund said. "We have to take better care of the puck and be more disciplined on defense.''