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Fargo Davies defense rises to occasion to hand Red River first loss of the girls basketball season

Both teams now have one loss after splitting the regular-season series.

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Roughriders guard Jocelyn Schiller (30) dives to recover a loose ball in the first half of a home girls basketball matchup against Fargo Davies at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — A defense solved the previously unbeaten Grand Forks Red River girls basketball team for the first time this season on Tuesday night.

It just happened to be the defense that allowed Red River guard Jocelyn Schiller to score a school record 43 points earlier this year.

In the rematch, Fargo Davies held Red River to 26 points less than its previous season-low in beating the Riders 49-37 in the Red River gym.

Red River, which dropped to 12-1, entered the game scoring more than 73 points per game.

"We knew we couldn't allow her to have 43 points again," said Davies coach Tonah Safranski, whose team improved to 12-1. "We're not going to stop her every time, but we had to throw something else at them. I just thought it was a total team effort. It was coming out and putting more pressure on the perimeter and then rotating off the back side ... the whole team did a nice job of that.

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"Credit to Jocie. She's an amazing player, but we weren't happy with (giving up the school record earlier this year). We hoped we could do a better job. It motivated us to go back and look and see what we could do better to help contain her a little bit."

Schiller, a 5-foot-7 junior, finished with a game-high 23 points but the scrappy guard needed a lot of shots to get there. Schiller was the only Red River player with more than five points.

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Red River guard Jocelyn Schiller (30) drives the ball to the hoop against Fargo Davies' Ashley Wacha (22) and Brooke Everson (23) in the first half of a girls basketball game at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

"(Davies) did a lot better job stopping Jocelyn off penetration and when we did kick it out, they did a great job covering where we were rushing some shots," Red River coach Kent Ripplinger said. "I thought it was two teams playing really hard defensively. They knocked down some shots, and we just couldn't get them."

After a defensive first half that saw Davies holding a slim 16-14 lead, the Eagles pulled away in the second half behind the 3-point shooting of freshman Fallon Passanante.

After Schiller scored on a drive to the basket to cut the Davies lead to four with 14 minutes left, the Eagles splashed three 3-pointers to go on a 9-0 run as the lead exploded back out to 13. Passanante hit two of the threes while Ashton Safranski hit a shot-clock beating deep 3-pointer from the top of the key.

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Fargo Davies' Ashton Safranski tries to hold onto the ball as Red River guards Rylie McQuillan, left, and Alex Stauss, rear, surround her during a girls basketball game at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

"(Passanante) has done that all season for us," coach Safranski said. "The first half, shots were hard to come by. She stayed with it, and she knocked down some huge shots."

Red River couldn't cut the lead under eight the rest of the way.

"Thank you, Davies, because now we can go look at film and start to figure things out," Ripplinger said. "They'll force us to get better and that's to their credit. We have to be able to learn and grow from it. That's what you do in the middle of the season.

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"I wish, yeah, we wanted to win, but it wasn't going to happen the way we shot. The girls know they can play better. They have to be more aggressive as a team rather than rely on one or two to be aggressive. (Davies) is a team that'll make you see that."

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Red River Roughriders girls basketball head coach Kent Ripplinger, center, is recognized for reaching a 200 career win milestone prior to a home tilt against the Fargo Davies Eagles in Grand Forks on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Related Topics: GF RED RIVER
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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