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North Dakota East Region girls basketball tournament: North's defense sends Spartans to state

Defense has been an on-again, off-again deal for Fargo North. "It's been good in spurts," North coach Derek Ouren said. "We haven't played it well consistently. "This is the best defense I've seen from this group all year." With a berth on the No...

Red River Fargo North
Fargo North"s Alyssa Dehne (right) is fouled by Red River's Brooke Borg in the second half of North's semifinal win Friday in Grand Forks. Herald photo by John Stennes.

Defense has been an on-again, off-again deal for Fargo North.

"It's been good in spurts," North coach Derek Ouren said. "We haven't played it well consistently.

"This is the best defense I've seen from this group all year."

With a berth on the North Dakota Class A girls state high school tournament on the line, the Spartans were stifling Friday. North held top-ranked Grand Forks Red River to 14 second-half points as North claimed a 43-39 win in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A East Region tournament at the Alerus Center.

North will play Fargo South in the region title game at 6 tonight, while Red River meets West Fargo in a loser-out, state-qualifier game at 2:30 p.m.

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Red River had taken a 33-26 lead on an Emily Asche putback basket with 15:17 left in the second half. But the Riders' offense went on a dry spell, going scoreless for the next 10 minutes and 55 seconds.

"We had some open looks and missed them," said Red River coach Justin Schommer, whose team had its lowest point total of the season. "And we couldn't get the ball inside for some easy shots or draw fouls. North played good defense."

North used a variety of zone defenses to shut down a Red River team that lost for only the second time in 21 games this season.

"Almost 11 minutes for them without a point -- that's awesome," Ouren said. "We didn't do anything different, except for trying a 1-3-1 for awhile. We were mixing up zones. It was just kids stepping up."

North's offense pecked away at the Red River lead. The Spartans went ahead 34-33 with 8:12 left when Mia Lopez recovered a loose ball under the North basket and put it in. An Alyssa Dehne basket made it 36-33 before Megan Haaven's basket with 4:22 left ended the Rider drought, making the score 36-35.

But Haley Reinholz answered with a 3-pointer from the left baseline and a 15-footer from the left wing and North was ahead 41-35 with 2:36 left. The closest Red River got thereafter was at 41-39 with 1:13 left after Asche scored back-to-back layups. Two Angie Waller free throws made it the final 43-39 margin.

"Haley's a good shooter when she gets a wide-open look," Ouren said. "And Angie is a competitor, just a big-time player."

Reinholz finished with 14 points and Waller 11 to lead the 14-7 Spartans, who will be making their first state tournament appearance since the 2002-03 school year.

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Asche finished with 14 points and Emily Evers scored 11 to lead the Riders.

Fargo South 75, Fargo Shanley 48: Fargo Shanley guard Sophie Kenney drained a 3-pointer as the first-half buzzer sounded to cut Fargo South's lead to eight points.

The momentum Shanley appeared to have grabbed was apparently left in the locker room at halftime.

South opened the second half on a 19-3 run and the Bruins cruised to a win in the semifinals.

"We thought about (the momentum swing)," South coach Craig Flaagan said. "But we shot that down to start the second half."

South faces Fargo North in the region championship at 6 p.m. The Bruins have won the past four region tournament titles.

The Bruins, who improved to 18-3 overall, were led by Meghan Roehrich's 24 points and 11 rebounds and Siri Burck's 18 points and 11 rebounds.

"Siri and Meghan just took over," Flaagan said. "Shanley didn't have an answer to stop either of them. Both of those kids stepped up."

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Both Burck and Roehrich are UND basketball recruits.

Leading 35-27 at halftime, South turned it into a blowout five minutes into the second half. The 19-3 spurt was sparked by seven points from Roehrich.

"Coach said we needed our leaders to step up and take control," Burck said. "The key was our defense. Then we secured rebounds and made sure they were one and done."

Shanley was led by Kenney's 11 points. Kenney had just two points in the second half.

The Deacons as a team shot 28.8 percent from the field.

"This was a good game for us overall on both ends of the floor," Flaagan said. "We've played pretty well for the last six or seven games now."

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