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Girls basketball: Red River defense dominates in win over Central

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Red River defenders Taylor Hart, left, and Lexi Belgarde pressure Grand Forks Central's Grace Foltz in the first half of their game Thursday at Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 5
Red River's Jadyn Sondrol follows her shot against Grand Forks Central during their game Thursday at Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 5
Grand Forks Central's Haley Gereau dribbles around Red River's Jasmine Sondrol during their game Thursday at Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 5
Red River's Karlie Robson drives to the basket as Grand Forks Central's Isabella Whiteside defends during their game Thursday at Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald5 / 5

Sometimes Grand Forks Red River's defense has been stingy. Sometimes, not so much.

On Thursday, the defense literally stole a win.

The Roughriders had 27 steals and forced 36 turnovers, the defense leading Red River to a 61-30 girls high school basketball win against visiting Grand Forks Central.

"We have to play defense more consistently,'' Red River coach Kent Ripplinger said. "Tonight it was good. This was one of our better defensive efforts this season.''

Red River converted Central miscues into 40 points. In the first half alone, Red River took a 31-14 lead into intermission with 27 of those points coming off Central turnovers.

Jadyn Sondrol, Kenady Steffan and reserve Claire Leach each had five steals to lead the aggressive Roughrider defense.

"That's probably our season high (in steals),'' Ripplinger said. "To have three girls with five steals each, that's unusual. Turnovers were a big part of our offense. When you get steals and transition those into baskets, that's a big momentum thing.

"I thought our pressure was the big thing. Our fullcourt press was good. Our halfcourt defense was good.''

Red River took control early.

Alex Page hit a 3-pointer 20 seconds into the game to start the Roughriders off on a 7-0 run. They extended that to a game-opening 20-2 spurt and held a double-figure lead the rest of the way. Red River built its lead to as many as 39 points (57-18).

The 30 points were the fewest Red River has allowed in a game this season. It was the third time in the Riders' last four games in which they limited opponents to less than 50 points.

The turnovers were a problem for 0-9 Central. So was 11-of-43 shooting (25 percent).

"We had some great looks,'' Central coach D.J. Burris said. "We just couldn't make them. Our shooting has been hit-and-miss all year. We just have to have some confidence.''

Haley Gereau scored seven points and Maddie Myrold six to lead the Knights.

Eleven players figured in the scoring for the 6-3 Roughriders. Sondrol's 12 points led the way, with Page adding 11 and Shelby Frank nine.

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