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Tom Miller / Forum Communications Co., Published December 21 2012

Roughriders defeat Fargo Davies in boys basketball

GRAND FORKS – The two most experienced players returning from Grand Forks Red River’s boys basketball state championship team last season played a limited role Friday night.

Post player John Hoplin played roughly 10 minutes due to foul trouble, and leading scorer Mac Kroeplin sat the final seven minutes after suffering an ankle injury.

Still, the Roughriders – ranked fourth in the latest North Dakota Class A state poll – had plenty of depth to knock off No. 2 Fargo Davies 77-65 in the Red River gymnasium.

Red River improved to 3-0, while Davies dropped to 2-1.

Despite missing a big chunk of time in the second half, Kroeplin led the way for Red River with 19 points, followed by Chad Bartosh with 17, Matt Anderson with 11, Jake Robson with 11 and Hoplin with 10.

“We feel we have guys who can score,” Red River coach Jason Gregory said. “We did a good job executing the offense in the second half.”

Davies led 34-32 at halftime, but the Roughriders went on a 9-0 run early in the second half to flip a 42-40 deficit into a 49-42 lead.

Moments later, Kroeplin buried a 3-pointer for a 52-44 advantage with 10:52 to play. The Roughriders led by at least six points the rest of the way.

“We didn’t play well in the second half,” said Davies coach Bart Manson, a former Red River coach. “A lot of that goes to Red River. They’re a good team. We’re struggling offensively a little bit right now. We’re feeling out where we should be. We don’t have games over Christmas, so we can look at things and get better. That’ll be nice for us.”

Both teams were in need of an early test as Red River entered with a 28-point win over Fargo South and a

39-point win over Devils Lake on its resume. The Eagles were just as dominant, beating Jamestown by 34 and Wahpeton by 22.

“We needed it,” Manson said. “We really needed to find out how good we are because everyone kept telling us how good we were.”

Tanner Kretchman led the Eagles with 23 points on 8 of 17 shooting from the field and a 5-for-9 performance from beyond the arc. David Olson, a transfer from Grand Forks Central, chipped in 16 points, while Andrew Kozlowski had 10.

Manson said the Eagles are still a work in progress. Olson transferred this season after his father, Todd, was hired as athletic director for the Fargo Public Schools.

Also, Kretchman is playing in his first varsity season for Davies after sitting out last year due to transfer rules after coming over from Kindred.

“We feel like we have some real good pieces with Andrew, David and Tanner,” Manson said. “They need to learn to play together a little better. But we’re three games into the season. It’s December. There’s a long ways to go, and I like this team.”

Halftime: FD 34, GFRR 32

FD: Olson 16, Feeney 4, Peterson 4, Barta 1, Berg 4, Kozlowski 10, Kretchman 23, Schultz 3.

GFRR: Bartosh 17, Kemnitz 9, Anderson 11, Kroeplin 19, Hoplin 10, Robson 11.

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald