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Red River outlasts Central in boys basketball 61-55

Reis Rowekamp leads Riders with 24 points

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Red River's Reis Rowekamp scrambles for a loose ball with Grand Forks Central's Noah Lund, Kendall Kjonaas, Ross Wilber Tuesday at Grand Forks Central.
Red River's Reis Rowekamp scrambles for a loose ball with Grand Forks Central's Noah Lund, Kendall Kjonaas, Ross Wilber Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, at Grand Forks Central.<br/>
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GRAND FORKS – It almost came down to the wire but Grand Forks Red River was able to hold off Grand Forks Central 61-55 on Tuesday night in the Knights' gym.

After falling behind in the first half, Reis Rowekamp, Pearce Parks, Zac Kraft and Carter Byron all contributed in the second half to shut down the Knights and ride a wave at the free-throw line to victory.

“We got on the glass and that’s where we thrive. To get to the rim with the athletes we have, we opened it up a little bit. That’s all we needed, we were getting out-rebounded in that first half and we ended up catching them and going past them in the second half, so that was key,” Red River coach Kirby Krefting said.

Rowekamp finished the night with 24 points and nine rebounds, including 10 free throws made which came in handy down the stretch.

Red River entered the bonus with just over six minutes left in the second half, leading 47-45, and the Riders did not waste it. Rowekamp hit four free throws on back-to-back possessions before Parks came up with a forceful block on Cole Wilber just under the basket with 2:34 to go, which would turn out to be a real momentum swing.

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After hitting the majority of their shots from range in the first half, the shots didn’t fall for the Knights in the final minutes. Free throws from Parks and a deep field goal from Kraft pushed Red River ahead 56-49. Erick Paye hit two at the line to inch closer, but on the next Central possession, Byron came up with a massive block of his own.

“We shoot a lot of free throws at practice. One of the things we put a big focus on in our game. The confidence we have to knock down those free throws is really big for us,” Rowekamp said.

Rowekamp, Parks and Zach Oehike each got a trip to the foul line with the Knights in desperation mode and they were able to come up clutch, sealing the 61-55 victory.

“We’ve been pretty good from the line so far this year. We got the ball to a junior who hasn’t been to the line much this year but he nailed the two at the end. I’m confident in any of our players on the court that we can shoot the free throw,” Krefting said.

The second half of a boys and girls doubleheader, Central came out hot and feeding off the crowd. The story of the first half was Ross and Cole Wilber combining for 21 points and four three-pointers.

Their flow and ability to knock down shots actually had the Knights leading 30-27 heading into the locker room, but that was quickly erased to start the second half when Kraft created a three-point play right off the first possession.

“In this gym, they always just seem to shoot the ball lights out. Their home crowd is unbeliveable and they give them so much momentum, but towards the end when started fouling and we hit our free throws that’s when the momentum shifted,” said Rowekamp.

With the win, Red River now moves to 3-0 on the year and heading in the opposite direction, Central falls to 0-3.

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Grand Forks Red River 61,

Grand Forks Central 55

First half: GFRR 27, GFC 30

GFC: Ross Wilber 15, Erick Paye 15, Cole Wilber 13, Leo Strandell 7, Noah Lund 3, Kendall Kjonaas 2

RR: Reis Rowekamp 24, Zac Kraft 17, Pearce Parks 11, Carter Byron 4, Logan Arason 3, Zach Oehike 2

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Grand Forks Central's Erick Paye drives to the basket as Red River's Logan Arason defends in the second half Tuesday at Grand Forks Central.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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Red River's Zachary Kraft looks to pass the ball as Central's Ross Wilber defends.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Digital Content Producer and Sports Reporter at the Grand Forks Herald since December of 2020. Maxwell can be contacted at mmarko@gfherald.com.
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