BOYS BASKETBALL: Red River rolls past West Fargo 70-41 to advance to East Region championship
FARGO -- Grand Forks Red River coach Jason Gregory said he has been emphasizing defense to his players lately. The North Dakota Class A, No. 1-ranked Roughriders responded by holding West Fargo to the third-fewest point total they have given up t...
FARGO -- Grand Forks Red River coach Jason Gregory said he has been emphasizing defense to his players lately.
The North Dakota Class A, No. 1-ranked Roughriders responded by holding West Fargo to the third-fewest point total they have given up to an opponent this season.
Red River's stellar defense led the way in a 70-41 win over the Packers in the semifinals of the East Region boys basketball tournament on Friday at the Bison Sports Arena.
"We want to be playing our best defense this time of the year," Gregory said. "We played hard tonight. We feel that when we play strong team defense, we have a good chance at being successful."
Earlier this season, Red River held Fargo South and East Grand Forks (Minn.) to 40 points.
The Roughriders advance to play Fargo Shanley or Wahpeton in the East Region championship at 8:15 tonight.
Red River held the Packers to 21 percent shooting in the game and led 34-14 at halftime.
West Fargo had no players score in double figures and got no closer than within 17 points of the Roughriders in the second half.
"(Red River) got after us defensively," West Fargo head coach Greg Limke said. "I thought they rebounded the ball well. They got second shots and we didn't. When we did make a good play on offense, we weren't able to finish, and a lot of that was their athleticism."
Mack Arvidson scored 19 points to lead Red River (20-1). Roughriders junior Mac Kroeplin posted a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Ricky Farroh added 14 points for Red River.
"We went out and executed our game plan offensively and did a good job of getting the ball inside," Gregory said.
Travis Schock scored nine points and added 10 rebounds to pace the Packers (11-10).
West Fargo plays Grand Forks Central at 1:15 p.m. today in a Class A state tournament qualifying game.
"We've had two really good games with Central this year," Limke said. "We know what they bring to the table. They have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the hoop. We're going to have to come ready to play."
Grand Forks Central 79, Fargo South 75: When Grand Forks Central has needed a spark the last couple games this season, it called on senior guard Sean Norton.
Norton answered the bell again, scoring 21 of his 30 points in the second half of the Knights' win over Fargo South in the consolation semifinals of the East Region boys basketball tournament at the Bison Sports Arena.
Central advances to play West Fargo in a North Dakota Class A state tournament qualifying game at 1:15 p.m. today.
"He's been there for us down the stretch and is averaging about 26 points in the last nine games of the season," Central coach Dan Carlson said. "He's a good decision maker and can knock down free throws when he gets fouled going to the hoop."
The Knights led 37-31 at halftime, but the Bruins would make the Knights work for their points in the second half.
South used four different press defenses in the game, and the assortment of pressure got the Bruins back into the game. However, it never put South ahead.
"We wanted to come out and play up-tempo," South coach Mike Hendrickson said. "We just couldn't get over the hump. Whenever we got to within one or two points, then (Central) would get it back to five or six points."
Norton had a lot to do with that, hitting 7 of 9 free throws and seven field goals in the second half.
David Olson and Nick Moe each scored 20 and 11 points, respectively, for the Knights (9-13).
"Norton was a tough player to guard," Hendrickson said. "We tried to take them out of a half-court offense, and when we used our face-guarding press, we were able to get them to panic and turn the ball over."
South had an opportunity to tie the game with 21.6 seconds to play, but Carter Schweitzer split a pair of free throws after being fouled by Central's Micah Hale.
Olson answered with two free throws, extending the Knights' lead to 78-75. Paxton Lloyd had a 3-point attempt fall short on the Bruins' final possession.
Todd Nicklaus scored 22 points to pace South, who finish the season 9-13.
Mix reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald