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Boys basketball: Davies' defense clamps down in second half to defeat Red River

The Eagles and Roughriders entered their Tuesday night game atop the Eastern Dakota Conference standings and also sported the EDC's top two scoring offenses.

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Fargo Davies' Alpha Camara and Grand Forks Red River’s Logan Arason reach for a rebound during their boys basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at Davies.
Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.
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FARGO — Strong second half defense backed up by an all-around offensive attack the Fargo Davies Eagles downed the Grand Forks Red River Roughriders Tuesday night in a showdown between the Eastern Dakota Conference’s top two boy’s basketball teams at Davies High School.

After a tight first half, with Davies holding a two-point lead to start the second, the Eagles clamped down on Red River’s biggest weapons to pull away to a 90-68 victory.

“It was a real tight ballgame,” said Davies coach Bart Manson. “I just thought our defense just wore them down a little bit. We were able to get some stops in the second half and then things just snowballed from there.”

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Fargo Davies' Leng Akol struggles for the ball with Grand Forks Red River’s Hudson Flom during their boys basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at Davies.
Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

Manson added that shutting down Zac Kraft — who had 20 points in the first half but only three in the second — and other Roughriders shooters was a big key to the win.

“I’m just really happy with our defensive effort,” he said. “I thought we did a nice job of knowing where (Kraft) was at and we never really let Reis (Rowekamp) get going. Both of those guys are averaging about 22 points per game. So the key tonight was to locate those guys and try to shut them down.”

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Alpha Camara bounced back from an early game scare to produce a double-double for the Eagles with 12 points and 17 rebounds.

Just over three minutes into the game, Camara lept for a layup with his feet coming out from under him as he was fouled. The shot fell through the net as Camara landed with a flat-back slam on the court. While uninjured and able to continue, the initial impact alarmed Camara.

“I thought maybe my arm came out of my socket, to be honest. I was scared because I heard a crack,” Camara said. “So, I started moving it around and it was just a little sore but I was scared at first.

“I would’ve been so mad (if I was hurt) because the game had just started,” he added with a chuckle.

Camara said that with several offensive weapons on the team, his focus is usually on grabbing rebounds instead of making shots himself.

“When I have Mason (Klabo), Dan (Yorke) and Ray (Brown) on my team, I don’t really focus on scoring like that,” he said. “When they shoot, I just try to hustle and get the rebound. A dog’s gotta eat!”

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Fargo Davies' Mason Klabo passes against Grand Forks Red River during their boys basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at Davies.
Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

Mason Klabo led the Eagles with 30 points while Ray Brown had 18.

Following the game, Klabo said it was important to get the win over the Roughriders, especially at home.

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“It means a lot to get a home win,” Klabo said. “We have kind of been struggling at home with our two losses at home. Taking care of our court is big. (Red River) is a great team and we held Reis (Rowekamp) to six points and he is a heck of a player. Ray did a great job on him and Zac Kraft had a heck of a first half, as well, and we shut him down in the second. It means a lot to get this dub (win).”

The Eagles lived up to their status as the top-scoring team in the EDC with their 90-point effort which is about 10 points higher than their season average.

In addition to Klabo, Brown and Camara, Riley Hanson (9), Jaxon Beiswenger (9) and Dan Yorke (8) were also on the cusp of double digits for the Eagles.

“A lot of kids stepped up today,” Klabo said. “A lot of them had eight or nine points. I struggled in the first half and they had my back, then shots started falling in the second half.

“It’s a great group of guys and we all play really well together. The sky is the limit.”

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Grand Forks Red River's Pearce Parks and Fargo Davies' Max Mitzel reach for a rebound during their boys basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at Davies.
Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

Kraft (23) and Pearce Parks (16) left the Roughriders offense while Logan Arason had 12 rebounds.

Red River moved to 8-4 while Davies improved to 11-2.

“(Red River) is a really good team,” Manson said. “(Red River head coach Kirby Krefting) does an amazing job with that group. There’s a pretty good chance we’ll see them again at some point. They’re a really good team.”

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GF RR 40 28 — 68

Davies 42 48 — 90

GF RR — Kraft 23, Parks 16, Arason 7, Oehlke 6, Rowekamp 6, Klefstad 6 Flom 4

Davies — Klabo 30, Brown 18, Camara 12, Hanson 9, Beisweger 9, Yorke 8, Davis 4

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