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Red River downs Valley City, advances in East Region tournament

Fast is the normal preferred tempo for the Grand Forks Red River girls basketball team. On Tuesday, it became faster. The Roughriders jumped out to a fast start, taking a 29-7 early lead. They were never caught, running past visiting Valley City ...

Red River's Claire Leach reaches for the ball as Valley City's Jadyn Dieterle dribbles Tuesday at Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
Red River's Claire Leach reaches for the ball as Valley City's Jadyn Dieterle dribbles Tuesday at Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Fast is the normal preferred tempo for the Grand Forks Red River girls basketball team.

On Tuesday, it became faster.

The Roughriders jumped out to a fast start, taking a 29-7 early lead. They were never caught, running past visiting Valley City 66-37 in the quarterfinals of the Class A East Region girls high school basketball tournament.

"We like to push the ball,'' Red River junior point guard Kenady Steffan said. "We always like to run. But we probably tried to be a little faster tonight. They had bigger girls. We felt we had a better opportunity to push it.''

That pace was established early.

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In the 29-7 start, the Roughriders had five fast-break layups, two each by Steffan and Maggie Steffen and another by Claire Leach. In addition, another missed layup on a break was converted into a putback basket by Shelby Frank.

"We wanted to come out running, more so than usual,'' Riders coach Kent Ripplinger said. "We felt a fast pace would benefit us, that we had more speed and more depth. At the pace we were playing, I think we wore them down.''

The Roughriders led 41-14 at halftime. They extended their lead to as many as 35 points in the second half.

Ripplinger was anticipating a closer game, as Red River had beaten the Hi-Liners only 62-49 during the regular season. The big difference was shooting, as Valley City was just 12-of-53 (22 percent) from the field Tuesday. In addition to Red River's aggressive defense limiting Valley City's shooting accuracy, the Roughriders also had 15 steals.

"Last time, we got out to a lead and they came back on us,'' Ripplinger said. "They have good shooters. Luckily, they weren't shooting very well tonight.''

Red River, meanwhile, was a respectable 44 percent (29-of-66) from the field. "We could have shot better,'' Ripplinger said. "How many layups did we miss? Six? Eight?''

Steffan finished with 15 points and had six assists for the 17-5 Riders. Frank added 14 points as the junior center was 7-of-8 shooting from the field.

Lindsey Noeske and Mackenzie Pederson each scored eight points to lead the 10-13 Hi-Liners.

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Red River's Kenady Steffan drives the lane as Valley City's Courtney Lloyd defends Tuesday at Grand Forks Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
Red River's Kenady Steffen drives the lane as Valley City's Courtney Lloyd defends Tuesday at Grand Forks Red River. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

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