The Valley City High School boys basketball team has had its ups and downs this season, with many of the peaks and valleys related to the team's shooting percentage.
It remained the case Tuesday at the Hi-Liner Activity Center, where the Hi-Liners struggled to find much of an offensive rhythm in an 82-42 loss to No. 1-ranked Red River.
"We shot 21 percent from the field and anytime you shoot that poorly against a team this good, who's No. 1 in state, you're definitely going to struggle, so we didn't get much going offensively and before you knew it, they (Red River) were out and hitting shots," VCHS coach Scott Hurlimann said. "It's not something you're going to be able to overcome."
Red River took over the game in subtle fashion, relying largely on rebounds followed by break down the court.
It was an effort led by Red River's Jon Hoplin, a 6 foot 6 inch senior, who snagged 13 of the Roughriders' 57 rebounds, and otherwise used his size to keep Valley City from getting easy inside looks, finishing with two blocks.
Combined with a relatively balanced offense, the Roughriders led 42-25 at halftime and never let off the gas, allowing only 17 more points in the second half.
The game was close at the beginning, with Red River getting a fastbreak layup to start the game but keeping VCHS at least a point away at all times.
VCHS had the lead as close at 17-15 with 10:02 left in the first half, but a 15-3 run in over three minutes separated it to a point VCHS couldn't recover from.
Part of the problem, Hurlimann said, was the depth of Red River's offense. Six Roughriders had seven or more points, and three finished in double figure scoring.
Chad Bartosh hit 5 3-pointers and finished with 19 points to lead the Roughriders, Matt Anderson had 11 points and abd Blake Kemnitz had 10.
"They've got lots of different guys that can shoot," he said. "You've saw guys that came off the bench and hit 3s, and go to the basket, and they've just got a lot of very good players. You can see why they're one of the top teams in the state."
Carpenter led Valley City with 15 points and was the only Hi-Liner to break double figures. Jared Lentz had eight points with two 3-pointers and two free throws in the first half.
The Hi-Liners have a few more days of practice before they play at Fargo North Friday in a two-point EDC game.
"That's a team we're going to be very competitive with, and if we play like we did on Saturday (against Davies), it will be able to come down to the wire," Hurlimann said.
VCHS Girls Lose 72-64
The Valley City High girls basketball team couldn't recover from a 16-point first half in a 72-64 loss at Red River Tuesday.
The Hi-Liners were outscored 37-16 in the first 18 minutes, but recovered with 48 second-half points to get it with eight late in the game.
Valley City was led by Dierra Diegel with 20 points, Claire Olson with 17 and Jessica Denholm with 12.