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Forum staff reports , Published February 26 2013

No. 1 Red River edges No. 2-ranked Shanley in boys basketball

FARGO – Grand Forks Red River checked the first item off of its season to-do list Tuesday night at McCormick Gymnasium.

Senior guard Mac Kroeplin poured in 23 of his game-high 31 points after halftime. That effort helped No. 1-ranked Red River rally for a 76-73 victory against No. 2-ranked Fargo Shanley in Eastern Dakota Conference boys basketball.

The Roughriders (18-1, 17-1 EDC) clinched the EDC regular-season championship with the victory. Shanley (15-3, 15-2) had its seven-game winning streak snapped.

“Your goal in any season is to win the regular season,” Red River head coach Jason Gregory said. “We kind of break it up into three seasons anyway. You go regular season, EDC (tournament) and hopefully the state tournament.”

Shanley led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but couldn’t hold off Red River down the stretch. Deacons senior A.J. Jacobson finished with a team-high 21 points, but fouled out with four minutes to play in the second half. Jacobson also sat out the final 10 minutes of the first half after picking up his third foul.

“It’s frustrating not having him in there … but it just wasn’t meant to be,” Shanley head coach Shane Alderman said.

Kroeplin also battled foul trouble. The 6-foot-2 guard sat the last seven minutes of the first half with three fouls. He also sat for more than three minutes during one stretch of the second half after picking up his fourth foul.

“I hate being off the court, but I’m glad (Jacobson) was off when I was off,” Kroeplin said.

Red River surged back into the game with a 19-5 run that ended near the midpoint of the second half. Kroeplin scored the first 12 points during that rally.

“I just wasn’t fouling I guess,” Kroeplin said with a laugh. “I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I was just playing my heart out. I guess the shots just dropped.”

Senior guard Blake Kemnitz capped the flurry with a 3-pointer that gave Red River a 54-53 lead with 9 minutes, 25 seconds remaining. Kroeplin gave the Roughriders a 63-62 lead, scoring an inside basket with 4:45 remaining. Red River never trailed from that point, and Jacobson fouled out less than a minute later.

Shanley had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but missed two 3-point attempts moments before time expired.

“We haven’t had a lot of close basketball games,” said Alderman, whose team had a 77-75 loss at Red River at the end of January. “Those games are good for us to kind of battle through and get a feel for them. It’s fun to play against a good basketball team.”

Junior guard Chad Bartosh added 20 points and eight rebounds for Red River. He scored 13 of those in the first half to help keep Red River within striking distance. Shanley had a 37-30 halftime lead and scored the first six points in the second half.

“Bartosh is a big part of what we do offensively, and defensively,” Gregory said. “We thought he made good decisions tonight.”

Red River finished its regular season, while the Deacons have one game remaining against Fargo North on Thursday.

“We knew this wasn’t a must-win game,” Alderman said. “The must-win games are coming down the road for us hopefully.”

RED RIVER (18-1, 17-1 EDC): Bartosh 9 1-1 20, Kemnitz 1 6-12 9, Anderson 4 0-0 11, Kroeplin 9 9-11 31, Hoplin 1 1-4 3, Robson 0 2-2 2, Landowski 0 0-0 0, Page 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 19-30 76.

SHANLEY (15-3, 15-2): Strom 7 0-0 18, Alderman 2 7-9 11, Dunn 1 1-2 4, Jacobson 9 2-2 21, Glogoza 2 2-2 6, Arnold 5 3-5 13, Meyer 0 0-0 0, Storandt 0 0-0 0, Voss 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 15-20 73.

Half: SH 37, RR 30. 3-point goals: Bartosh, Kemnitz, Anderson 3, Kroeplin 4, Strom 4, Dunn, Jacobson. Total fouls: RR 20, SH 23. Fouled out: Jacobson. Rebounds: RR 36 (Bartosh 8), SH 44 (Alderman 10). Turnovers: RR 8, SH 9.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com