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Boys basketball: Riders hustle by Wave

Brian Lillemoen didn't reach the scoring column, but a play made by the Grand Forks Red River senior in the closing seconds was as big as any produced by his teammates in the previous 35 minutes.

Brian Lillemoen didn't reach the scoring column, but a play made by the Grand Forks Red River senior in the closing seconds was as big as any produced by his teammates in the previous 35 minutes.

Lillemoen chased down a rebound off a missed free throw with 12 seconds remaining. His hustle led to two Mac Kroeplin free throws -- points that help seal Red River's 59-56 win against East Grand Forks Senior High on Tuesday night in the Rider gym.

With Red River leading 57-56, Kroeplin missed the front end of a bonus with 12 seconds to go. Lillemoen, a 6-foot-4 senior, hustled to the corner and saved the ball from going out of bounds. The ball eventually reached Kroeplin, who immediately was fouled.

Kroeplin cashed in on his second trip to the line, dropping in two free throws with 7.1 seconds to play for the final points. Senior High's Jake Upham launched a 3-point attempt with two seconds to go, but the attempt was off the mark.

"Sometimes, you have to make one big play and we did that tonight," Red River coach Jason Gregory said. "We work extremely hard. Our kids battle hard every night. I don't know if we played our best game of the year. We looked a little sluggish."

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The Riders were on the move midway through the second half when their 2-2-1 full-court press caused a handful of Senior High turnovers, helping Red River to a game-changing 12-2 run.

A Senior High turnover led to a Ben Hillebrand basket and a 45-35 Red River lead with 7:17 to play. The run also featured the solid all-around play of Red River junior Mack Arvidson, who finished with 14 points.

"We knew we'd use the press at some point," Gregory said. "We wanted to get the game a little faster. We were a little sluggish in the half-court defense. We had to try something different. We just had to wait for the right time."

But Senior High managed a late rally, led by 6-6 freshman center Jim Warmack, who scored a game-high 22 points. Senior High pulled to within one point on a couple of occasions, but couldn't retake the lead.

"We were pleased with our effort," Senior High co-coach Travis Lindgren said. "They just made a couple of more plays than we did."

Red River's second-half press was a factor, the Senior High coach said.

"We had guys try to do a little too much individually," Lindgren said. "Who knows? That could have been the difference."

Both teams had good scoring balance. Matt Hanson complemented Kroeplin and Arvidson by scoring 11 points.

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In addition to Warmack's 22 points, Austin Holy (12) and Nathan Carlson (10) also reached double figures for Senior High.

GF Red River 59,

EGF Senior High 56

Key play: Red River's 12-2 run for a 45-35 lead.

Key player: Mac Kroeplin, 15 points.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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