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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Riders upend Davies

Grand Forks basketball fans had two reasons to smile Saturday at the Red River gymnasium. First of all, the homestanding Roughriders downed previously unbeaten Fargo Davies 73-65 in a meeting of state-ranked teams. Secondly, the fans got an encou...

Grand Forks basketball fans had two reasons to smile Saturday at the Red River gymnasium.

First of all, the homestanding Roughriders downed previously unbeaten Fargo Davies 73-65 in a meeting of state-ranked teams. Secondly, the fans got an encouraging sneak peek at Davies senior Alexis Klabo, a UND signee who didn’t disappoint with a 26-point performance.

The results left the two teams tied for second behind unbeaten Fargo Shanley in the East Region with 7-1 records. Overall, the No.-ranked Eagles are 8-1 and the No. 5-ranked Riders are 8-2.

Klabo had only six points at halftime, as she sat for nine of the first 18 minutes because of foul trouble. The Riders took advantage of her bench time, building a lead as wide as 19 before settling for a 40-27 halftime lead.

Davies came within five points on three occasions in the second half, but couldn’t get any closer as the undersized Roughriders fended off the rallies by continuing to attack the basket, despite Klabo’s 6-foot-2 presence. Sophomore Lexi Robson led the Riders with a career-high 20 points while Allison Hillebrand added 11 and Keana Burr and Olivia Schreiner had 10 each.

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All four gave up at least five inches to Klabo, but didn’t shy from the lane.

“It was hard, but we had to battle and we got it done,” said Robson, a 5-6 sophomore guard. “She’s very tall and her arms stretch very far. Coach told us to drive, but pull up and take the jump shot.”

Along with having Klabo and point guard Amber Burntness sit much of the first half because of foul trouble, Davies Coach Tonah Safranski lamented her team’s 25 turnovers, most of them coming off Red River’s full-court press.

“Having them out took us off our game,” Safranski said. “And, our players have to adjust to how the game is being called. We need our point guard to handle pressure and our offense runs through Alexis, so she needs to be be on the court, too.”

For the Eagles, Burtness added 14 points behind four 3-pointers while Carly Kottsick added 11 and Kai Erickson 10 off the bench.

Red River Coach Kent Ripplinger said a major key in the mild upset was that his players took advantage of their opportunities.

“(Klabo) does a lot of things for them, so when she went out, we wanted to put a run together,” he said. “We got outrebounded by 10, but that’s not bad when you consider Davies outrebounds every other team they play by a 2 to 1 margin. And we had only 13 turnovers, so we did a lot of things well.”

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