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BOYS BASKETBALL: West Fargo slips past Red River

Grand Forks Red River had the best shooting percentage in the Eastern Dakota Conference entering Friday. But West Fargo's defense dropped that field-goal accuracy a few points.

Grand Forks Red River had the best shooting percentage in the Eastern Dakota Conference entering Friday. But West Fargo’s defense dropped that field-goal accuracy a few points.

The Packers’ defense dominated in claiming a 62-52 boys high school basketball win Friday.

Red River, shooting 47 percent from the field entering the game, managed just 18-of-41 shooting (34.7 percent) against the aggressive Packer defenders.

“Their specialty is their defense,’’ Roughriders assistant coach Kelby Krefting said. “And it showed. We didn’t get into any kind of flow or rhythm. That was because of their pressure. Their defense disturbed us, and they worked harder than us.’’

The Packers used a variety of zones and man-to-man. They forced 21 turnovers, leading to 22 points and helping the Packers to a 62-41 advantage in field-goal attempts.

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“Defense is something we’ve had to work on,’’ West Fargo coach Greg Limke said. “Early on, we struggled there. But it’s been improving. Tonight we did a nice job.

“Red River has so many good shooters. It’s tough to focus on any one or them.’’

Braedan Hanson had 17 points to lead Red River. That wasn’t enough to offset the balanced Packers. Senior center Melvin Collins had a double double with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Brady Heisler and Josh Pistorius scored 10 each.

West Fargo used an 8-2 run to close the first half and build a 33-24 lead.

Red River was still within 37-30 with 14:42 remaining, but West Fargo built a 50-34 lead with a 13-4 spurt. Collins had six points in the run. Red River answered with eight straight points, but could get no closer than eight.

West Fargo was aggressive on offense as well as defense. The Packers’ 26 field goals included 16 from close range, several of them on fast-break layups.

“We pass the ball well,’’ Limke said. “We’ve made a concerted effort to push the ball more this year. We have players who fit that style.’’

The win improved West Fargo to 7-2 overall and 7-1 in the region. Red River, 4-3 overall, dropped to 4-2 in region points.

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