Greater Grand Forks High School Notebook: Experience pays off for No. 2-ranked Knights

A youth movement was a big part of Brent Hintz's first season as the Grand Forks Central girls basketball coach. Freshmen played a big role on that team out of necessity rather than with an eye to the future.

A youth movement was a big part of Brent Hintz's first season as the Grand Forks Central girls basketball coach. Freshmen played a big role on that team out of necessity rather than with an eye to the future.

"You could definitely see their potential," Hintz said of the freshmen during the 2007-08 season. "And we had some injuries early that season. The freshmen got more chances to play and they seized on the opportunity. They played well.

"You could see they loved basketball and worked hard at it. They looked like a strong nucleus, a group you could build a program around."

Caitlin Farroh and Courtney Hammer started on that team. Rebecca Fee was one of the top reserves. Jessica Lindsay and Jennifer Erickson played sparingly. Now they're all seniors and key contributors on a Knights team that is off to a 6-0 start.

Central is at Grand Forks Red River at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the first intracity game this season.


Farroh is the big gun for the Knights. A two-time all-state pick, the senior post player averages 19 points and 16.2 rebounds a game. She scored the 1,000th point of her career last week; she's 48 rebounds shy of 1,000. Fee is second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg) with a team-best 3.5 assists per game. Lindsay (8.5 ppg, 3 apg) and Hammer (6.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg) rank third and fourth in scoring.

"Caitlin is definitely a big part of our team," Hintz said. "But you aren't 6-0 without a lot of people contributing. Our guards have done a much better job of taking care of the ball and getting us into our offense. They've played a huge role. And defensively we've made huge strides this year."

Central is ranked second in the latest Class A state poll. Red River, meanwhile, is looking for its third win.

The Roughriders are 2-5. Close hasn't been good for Red River -- it has suffered defeats by margins of one, three, seven and eight points.

"Our biggest things are defense and rebounding," first-year Red River coach Kent Ripplinger said. "If we start doing those things like I think we're capable of, we can get over the top."

Balance has been a Red River strength. Ashley Knecht leads the team with an average of 9.7 points a game. She's followed by Amanda Knudson (9.3 ppg), Emily Asche (8.7 ppg, team-leading 5.2 rpg), Ellie Ripplinger (7.6 ppg) and JoDee Wheeler (5.7 ppg, team-leading 2.0 apg).

"It's been kind of frustrating," Kent Ripplinger said. "The kids are working hard. We need to start games better. We've gotten behind early in a lot of games and have had to fight back from that."

Gregory unbeaten


in intracity games

Red River coach Jason Gregory puts a perfect mark on the line Thursday when the Roughriders host Central in boys basketball in the second half of the intracity doubleheader.

Gregory is in his fourth season as the Roughriders' head coach. His teams are 6-0 against Central.

"It's not the great coaching mind, I know that," Gregory said of the success. "We've just had good athletes the last few years, and they've performed well in those games."

Pace is the term both Gregory and Central coach Dan Carlson use for this game.

"It's the same as it's been the last few years," Gregory said. "They want a slower game, working the ball in to (Ben) Lofgren. He's a big, strong kid. We want to get the pace of the game faster. In our last two games, they were slower-paced and we couldn't get into an offensive rhythm."

The strength of the 4-4 Roughriders has been the perimeter trio of Mack Arvidson (16 ppg), Matt Hanson (13.6 ppg, team-high 17 three-pointers) and Mac Kroeplin (14.3 ppg).

Lofgren averages 12.3 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Knights. Sean Norton (12.8 ppg), Ken Smith (11.5 ppg), Mark Bushaw (7 ppg) and Grant Parks (6.5 ppg) add some balance. Central is 1-5, but the Knights' have suffered some narrow setbacks -- three defeats were by two, three and eight points.


"We have to deal with (Red River's) athletes," Carlson said. "They're as good a group of athletes as there is in our conference.

"We haven't been consistent enough. We've played well at times in most of our games. But just a little lapse in close games can be costly. Some nights it's the offense that's let us down; some nights its been the defense."

Top wrestlers in Grand Forks

The Grand Forks dual wrestling multiple returns next week after a one-year absence.

Last year's multiple was canceled due to inclement weather. The multiple will be held Friday and Saturday at Red River High School. Fourteen teams, primarily from North Dakota's Class A ranks, will complete in a round-robin format that matches teams from the eastern part of the state against those from the west. On Saturday, Bismarck wrestles West Fargo in a rematch of last season's state final, which was won by West Fargo.

Red River coach Bruce Moe said almost all of the state's top-ranked A teams are scheduled to participate.

While most wrestling tournaments in North Dakota have an individual format, Grand Forks' two tournaments both are dual tournaments.

"You draw more teams because there is a shortage of dual tournaments in North Dakota," Moe said. "I think fans like this format. They don't have to just count on a few individuals being successful. It's team and individual success in this format."



Grand Forks Red River senior hitter Kaitlyn Bollingberg has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Jamestown College.

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