PREP BASKETBALL: Riders ready for opener
Defensive strategy won't be a mystery to Grand Forks Red River boys basketball coach Jason Gregory this year. "Teams, especially early on, will try to stop our guards," Gregory said. "Why wouldn't you?" That's because the rest of the state expect...
Defensive strategy won't be a mystery to Grand Forks Red River boys basketball coach Jason Gregory this year.
"Teams, especially early on, will try to stop our guards," Gregory said. "Why wouldn't you?"
That's because the rest of the state expects the Roughriders to have one of the best backcourt duos.
Senior Mack Arvidson and junior Mac Kroeplin both earned all-conference honors last year and combined to score more than 34 points per game.
"We've got some good players and they'll get theirs," said Gregory, whose team will open the regular season at 7:30 tonight at home against Fargo Shanley. "The others should just benefit from that extra attention."
Arvidson, who is 6-foot-2, was a second team all-state selection after averaging 18.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.
"The big thing with (Arvidson) this year is his leadership," Gregory said. "He's got a senior attitude now. He's saying this is my senior year and we're going to work as hard as we can."
Like Arvidson, Kroeplin is tall and athletic. Kroeplin, at 6-foot-2, averaged 16.2 points, 5.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds as a sophomore.
"Mac has gotten stronger again," Gregory said. "He's put on about 10 more pounds in the weight room. That's helped him become a better inside-outside player. He's more consistent from the outside."
The return of Mack and Mac has produced lofty expectations for the Roughriders, who were 13-9 last year but failed to make the North Dakota state Class A tournament.
Red River was pegged No. 1 in the East Region by Hoopster, a North Dakota basketball publication.
"If we play as hard as we can, then we'll see what happens," Gregory said. "We've talked about where we feel our expectations are at, but we know there are some good teams in the EDC. There's going to be good competition this year."
The Riders graduated post Brian Lillemoen, who averaged more than seven rebounds per game, and guard Matt Hanson, the team's 3-point specialist.
Red River will look to fill those voids with seniors Ricky Farroh and Mitchell Anderson and juniors John Hoplin and Matt Anderson. Seniors Tyler Burris and Jakoby Ripplinger and junior Blake Kemnitz also could figure into the mix.
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