Red River rips Mandan in semifinalsFARGO — Credit Grand Forks Red River’s defense with preventing Mandan from making back-to-back comebacks at the Class A state boys basketball tournament.
By: Tom Mix, Forum Communications Co.
FARGO — Credit Grand Forks Red River’s defense with preventing Mandan from making back-to-back comebacks at the Class A state boys basketball tournament.
The Roughriders held the Braves to 32 percent shooting in a 69-55 win over the West Region’s top-seeded team during the semifinals Friday afternoon at the Fargodome.
Mr. Basketball finalist Mack Arvidson keyed Red River’s offense, leading all scorers with 21 points.
“I thought we played great,” Arvidson said. “Our main focus coming in was rebounding and playing defense and our offense came. … That was one of our best games of the year for sure. We played well in the first half and continued it in the second half.”
Top-ranked Red River (22-2) advances to its first title game since 1970. The Roughriders play the Fargo Shanley in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. today.
Red River went on an 8-0 run late in the first half and led 31-19 at halftime. Devin Coyle, Mandan’s Mr. Basketball finalist, was held to four points in the first half and finished with 13.
“We knew we had to defend against their key players,” Red River coach Jason Gregory said. “That was a big part of our key emphasis. We also have a player like John Hoplin standing in the middle who can help not so much block the shots all the time, but he’s there to affect the shots, which makes us a little more aggressive defending on the perimeter.”
Coyle and Aaron Janz combined for nine 3-pointers in Mandan’s overtime comeback win against West Fargo in the quarterfinals, but the Braves were 4-for-24 from beyond the arc Friday. Coyle was 1 of 11.
Red River opened the second half on a 19-4 run and led by as much as 25 points.
“They did a great job of defending us and taking us out of our comfort zone,” Mandan head coach Jason Horner said. “We let them do whatever they wanted to do. We didn’t go hard to set screens, we didn’t come hard off screens. … It was frustrating.”
When the Braves tried to press, the Roughriders responded with a press offense. With Mandan defending hard, Red River used precision passing that often ended in uncontested layups.
“We like to run up and down the court and get some easy baskets,” said Hoplin, who finished 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Mandan (18-6) went on an 8-0 run late, but it was too little too late. Mandan plays Wahpeton in the third-place game at 2:30 p.m. today at the Fargodome.
Erron Collins paced the Braves 16 points and Seth Westby added 12.
MANDAN (18-6): Collins 6 3-5 16, Coyle 3 6-7 13, Westby 5 1-2 12, Janz 3 1-1 8, Marcellais 1 0-0 2, Wanner 1 0-1 2, Schmidt 1 0-0 2. Totals 20-63 11-16 55.
RED RIVER (22-2): Arvidson 7 5-6 21, Hoplin 5 3-3 13, Farroh 2 5-6 9, Kroeplin 2 4-6 9, Mi. Anderson 2 2-2 6, Kemnitz 1 3-4 6, Bartosh 1 1-2 3, Ma. Anderson 1 0-0 2. Totals 21-38 23-29 69.
Halftime: RR 31, M 19.
3-pointers: Collins, Coyle, Westby, Janz, Arvidson 2, Kroeplin, Kemnitz. Total fouls: M 23, RR 19. Fouled out: Westby. Rebounds: M 25 (Collins, Westby 5). RR 36 (Hoplin 8). Assists: M 4 (Coyle 2), RR 14 (Kroeplin 5). Turnovers: M 6, RR 15.
Shanley crushes Wahpeton
A.J. Jacobson sprained his right knee in the quarterfinals on Thursday, but the injury didn’t prevent the Fargo Shanley junior from contributing in the semifinals.
Jacobson scored 16 points and added 10 rebounds in the Deacons’ 73-41 win over Wahpeton.
The sprain did affect what the 6-foot-5 junior could do on offense. He shot 4 of 16 from the field, but drove to the hoop frequently, drawing fouls.
“I thought that was the best way I could help my team, and that’s what I decided to do,” Jacobson said. “It felt pretty good doing that other than jumping off of it.”
The Deacons (19-5) advance to play Grand Forks Red River in the state championship game at 8:30 p.m. today.
It’s Shanley’s first appearance in a title game since 1998 when it won the Class A championship. The Deacons won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.
Jacobson will play in the championship game.
The Deacons opened the game with a 13-2 run and capitalized scoring off offensive rebounds and early turnovers by the Huskies. Fargo Shanley led 36-20 at halftime and shot 43 percent from the field in the first half.
“We executed on both ends,” Shanley head coach Leon Knodel said. “Defensively, we did a good job of containing Bontjes and their other shooters and giving them really only one look. Offensively, we did a great job of running when it was there and when it wasn’t there we executed well in the half court.”
Wahpeton, who pulled off a thrilling comeback against Bismarck in the quarterfinals couldn’t replicate it on Friday.
Shanley held Wahpeton standout Jeremy Bontjes in check the entire game. Bontjes scored five points in the first half and finished with 11 to lead the Huskies (17-7).
“Once they got ahead we had no answer at all,” Wahpeton head coach Jeff Ralph said. “The defensive intensity they had caused us so many troubles initially in the game. It got us out of what we were trying to do on offense.”
Wahpeton plays Mandan in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. today at the Fargodome.
Thomas Strandemo and Dylan Alderman scored 15 and 11 points respectively for the Deacons. Patrick Strom and Grady Meyer each added 10 points for Shanley.
Jacobson said his shot is a little short.
“I need to get a little more oomph on it from out there,” Jacobson said. “Hopefully I can make the adjustments and shoot a better percentage (today).”
SHANLEY (19-5): Jacobson 4 8-8 16, Strandemo 4 4-4 15, Alderman 3 5-9 10, Strom 4 1-2 10, Meyer 2 5-6 10, Glogoza 2 0-0 4, Voss 1 0-0 2, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Traynor 1 0-0 2, Wolbaum 0 1-2 1. Totals 22-58 24-31 73.
WAHPETON (17-7): Bontjes 4 0-0 11, Lunneborg 4 0-0 8, Medhaug 3 1-2 7, Irwin 2 1-2 5, Christensen 2 0-0 4, Sirek 1 1-1 3, Kramer 1 0-1 2, Kath 0 1-2 1. Totals 17-54 4-8 41.
Halftime: S 36, W 20. 3-pointers: Strandemo 3, Strom, Meyer, Bontjes 3. Total fouls: S 12, W 24. Fouled out: Christensen. Rebounds: S 32 (Jacobson 10), W 28 (Christensen 6). Assists: S 13 (Jacobson 4). W, 4 (four with one). Turnovers: S 6, W 15.
Mix is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.
Class A state tournament
At Bison Sports Arena
Bismarck St. Mary’s 66, West Fargo 61
Bismarck High 71, Minot High 51
Grand Forks Red River 69, Mandan 55
Fargo Shanley 73, Wahpeton 41
Fifth place: Bismarck St. Mary’s vs. Bismarck High, 10:30 a.m.
Third place: Mandan vs. Wahpeton, 2:30 p.m.
Championship: Grand Forks Red River vs. Fargo Shanley, 7 p.m.