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Eric Peterson, Published March 09 2013

Red River girls advance to Class A state tournament

FARGO – A quick glance at the stat sheet showed Grand Forks Red River head coach Kent Ripplinger all he needed to know.

“We’ve said all year that if we can get three in double figures, we are going to be tough to beat,” Ripplinger said.

Red River had three seniors reach double digits in scoring Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena. That triple threat helped fuel the Roughriders to a 62-54 victory against Devils Lake in a state-qualifying game at the East Region girls basketball tournament.

Red River (14-8) is headed to the North Dakota Class A state tournament for the first time since 2010. The state tournament starts Thursday in Bismarck.

“It means a lot,” said Red River senior guard Payton Salquist, who finished with a game-high 17 points. “Last year, we had a rough end to the season and we just knew we wanted to get there.”

Senior guard Ellie Ripplinger (16 points) and senior forward Nicole LaDouceur (11 points) joined Salquist in double figures.

“They came through,” Kent Ripplinger said.

Devils Lake (8-14) saw its season end one game short of the state tournament.

“This was a team that was picked ninth preseason in the EDC poll,” Devils Lake head coach Justin Klein said. “We played well (Friday) and got ourselves here and that’s what we asked, but just couldn’t come through and Red River is a good team.”

Red River held a four-point halftime lead, but used a 14-2 run that started in early in the second half to pull away from the Firebirds. The 5-foot-4 Salquist sank two 3-pointers during that game-changing stretch. Salquist finished with four of Red River’s seven 3-pointers.

“Threes are big deals,” Kent Ripplinger said. “They can turn the momentum and I think they did a pretty good job.”

The 5-8 LaDouceur capped the rally with an inside basket that gave the Roughriders a 44-28 lead with 11 minutes, 28 seconds to play in the second half. That was Red River’s largest lead.

“We started to get a little pressured when we missed a few shots. We panicked maybe a little bit,” Klein said. “They did a good job of moving the ball and got those open looks. That was kind of the run there they got.”

Senior forward Christa Lysne paced Devils Lake with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

DEVILS LAKE (8-14): Lysne 3 8-8 14, Schafer 3 7-12 14, Swanson 3 2-2 9, Lunday 2 3-4 7, Walford 2 0-0 4, Widmer 1 1-2 4, Erickson 1 0-0 2, Fee 0 0-0 0, Hartl 0 0-0 0. Totals 15-75 21-28 54.

RED RIVER (14-8): Salquist 4 5-6 17, Ripplinger 5 5-8 16, LaDouceur 5 1-5 11, Burr 4 1-4 9, Arason 1 1-4 4, Trader 1 0-0 3, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Carlson 0 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 13-27 62.

Half: RR 28, DL 24. 3-point goals: Schafer, Swanson, Widmer, Salquist 4, Ripplinger, Arason, Trader. Total fouls: DL 24, RR 20. Fouled out: Walford. Rebounds: DL 50 (Lysne 12), RR 33 (Burr 10). Turnovers: DL 16, RR 16.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com