Boys basketball: Balancing act
For the past few seasons, the focus of the East Region boys basketball matchup between Grand Forks Red River and Fargo North has been the head-to-head battle of the region's top two scorers -- Roughriders guard Luke Schreiner and Spartans guard N...
For the past few seasons, the focus of the East Region boys basketball matchup between Grand Forks Red River and Fargo North has been the head-to-head battle of the region's top two scorers -- Roughriders guard Luke Schreiner and Spartans guard Nik Savageau.
On Tuesday, Red River showed it has plenty of firepower to go with Schreiner.
Five Red River players finished in double figures -- led by Matt Hanson's 22 points -- as the Roughriders knocked off No. 2-ranked Fargo North 81-72 in the Red River gymnasium.
"We moved the ball around pretty well," Red River point guard Braden Battle said.
The Riders, who have beaten North twice this season, improved to 7-3 in the region and 8-5 overall. Red River sits third in the region standings.
The Spartans, who are in first place in the region, dropped to 8-2 in the region and 13-2 overall.
"Overall, that was a great team game showed by five guys in double figures," Red River coach Jason Gregory said. "We did a great job dispersing the ball. We did a nice job driving and kicking."
The Riders led the entire second half, but the game wasn't secured until the final minute.
Hanson, a 6-foot-2 junior, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Red River a 70-56 lead with just more than five minutes left in the second half.
The Spartans responded with a quick 11-0 run. Savageau, who finished with a team-high 21 points, scored on the fastbreak to cut Red River's lead to 70-67 with 2:22 remaining.
A minute later, Savageau knocked down a 3-pointer from almost 25 feet away to cut further into the lead, making it 74-72. But the deep trey with 1:22 to go was North's last points of the game.
Matt Lee and Schreiner combined to go 7-for-8 from the foul line down the stretch to put the game away for the Roughriders.
"I don't know if it was a letdown from our two previous games, but the intensity wasn't there," North coach Dan Shultis said. "It took us a long time to get going."
After Hanson's 22 points, Tyler Thompson had 15, Schreiner had 13 and Battle and Lee each had 10 points.
"(Hanson) helps spread us out just a little further," Gregory said.
Hanson finished 9-for-16 from the field and 4-for-9 from the 3-point line.
"(Hanson) stepped up and made the shots we needed," Battle said.
Shultis, however, said it was Battle who gave the Spartans the most trouble.
"The whole key was Battle," Shultis said. "That's the best I've seen him. He ran their offense so well. We had no answer for him."
After North's late 11-0 run, Battle put the Riders back on track. He scored off an inbounds play to boost the Rider lead to 72-67 and again on a drive to make it 74-69.
Battle was also in charge of containing Savageau defensively.
"That was a big win," Battle said. "It keeps us in good place in the region."
The Spartans finished with three players in double figures. After Savageau's 21 points, Nick Schultz had 16 and Brady Bergeron had 11.
GF Red River 81,
Fargo North 72
Key play: Matt Lee's two free throws for a 76-72 lead.
Key player: Matt Hanson, game-high 22 points.