Red River ends regular season with 74-68 win over West Fargo
Paine Parks leads the way for the Roughriders with 21 points. Red River will take on Shanley in the East quarterfinals.
GRAND FORKS – There have not been many games this season where Red River lagged from the perimeter and needed to switch it up, but that was just the adjustment they needed to close out its regular-season finale with a win.
Just past the eight-minute mark of the second half, the Roughriders were able to draw out possessions and work their way inside for a hard-earned 22-8 run down the final stretch that mainly featured Paine Parks and Reis Rowekamp converting in the paint. They outlasted a late scare from West Fargo to take a 74-68 win on Friday night
“We knew it was going to be a track meet today and that’s what we wanted. We wanted to push the ball as best we can and try to get those transition, easy buckets,” Red River head coach Kirby Krefting said. “At the same time our offense is generated to get to the middle and kick it to our shooters, but we didn’t have that today. We didn’t shoot very well at all.”
Parks and Rowekamp, combined, went 7-for-8 in the paint in the latter half, with Parks leading the game in scoring with 21 points. Rowekamp finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and an assist.
Normally the team’s most efficient shooter from beyond the arc, Rowekamp went without a 3-pointer. The Packers, on the other hand, made quite a dent in the 67-56 Roughrider lead with some highly contested 3-pointers. In the final minute, Brett Limke sank back-to-back from deep for his team-best 17 points. Then Nick Carlson followed that up with one of his own to keep it a two-possession game.
Red River held on to their lead and hit its free throws to clinch the victory. Their fourth-seeded placement in the upcoming East Region tournamenet was already clinched headed into the game.
“The focus was to get some momentum going into the playoffs. Obviously, it wasn’t that big of a deal if we won or lost today, but now we can bring this into Tuesday and hopefully it can light a spark for us,” said Kreftling.
No. 5 Shanley will be the matchup on Tuesday –a team the Roughriders swept in the regular season and one that Kreftling feels they match up well against.
“They have some offensive power, but we feel if we play our game and play together anything can happen,” he said.
Friday’s game against West Fargo, however, was an example of Red River adapting and succeeding while not playing itsgame. It’s a valuable lesson to learn heading into the postseason and a trait most coaches try to attain.
“It’s nice that these kids can do it. Their basketball IQs are very high and we know that coming in. They work and work and only get better. So we know that, as of right now, we can rise to any task that is given to us,” Kreftling said.
Leading scorers in the first half were West Fargo’s Jaden Grefsrud with 12 points and Parks, matching with 12.
Grand Forks Red River 74,
West Fargo 68
First half – RR 35, WF 32
RR: Paine Parks 21, Reis Rowekamp 18, Zac Kraft 11, Carter Byron 10, Pearce Parks 8, Logan Arason 5, Gunnar Heuchert 3
WF: Brett Limke 17, Jaden Grefsrud 15, Nick Carlson 15, Foday Sheriff 11, Parker Nelson 6, Carson Hegerle 4