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Defense sets tone for Roughriders

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Even when shots aren't falling, the Grand Forks Red River girls basketball team can always count on their defense. The Roughriders forced 22 turnovers and held their 10th straight opponent to 50 points or less en route to a 56...

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Even when shots aren't falling, the Grand Forks Red River girls basketball team can always count on their defense.

The Roughriders forced 22 turnovers and held their 10th straight opponent to 50 points or less en route to a 56-49 win over Grand Forks Central on Thursday in a state-qualifying game of the East Region tournament at the Alerus Center.

The Roughriders (17-5) will be the No. 3 seed at the North Dakota state Class A tournament on Thursday at the Bismarck Civic Center.

Red River, which shot 34 percent from the field, didn't make a field goal in the final 4 minutes, 25 seconds. But a strong defense and key free throws down the stretch gave the Riders the win.

"It was a tough third game; we were all really tired," Red River's Katie Johnke said. "We got some big help from players off the bench."

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The Roughriders controlled play late. Central's Lacey Petersen scored down low to make it 49-47 with 1:53 left. Red River, though, rattled off six free throws - two from Sarah Smith, three from Andi Wheeler and one from Johnke - to ice the win.

GFRR: Smith 17, Asche 9, Marhula 5, Roller 4, Peters 2, Johnke 8, Wheeler 5, Carlson 3, Evers 2, Black 1

GFC: Hammer 22, Petersen 15, Bunde 4, Renden 2, Labahn 4, Farroh 2.

Half: GFRR 29, GFC 22.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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