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Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High senior Taylor Cooper, left, brings the ball up the court against Williston sophomore Cayli Slette on Tuesday night during a West Region girls basketball game at the DHS gymnasium.

Dickinson High girls roll past Williston 66-43

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A fine start for the Dickinson High girls basketball team was capped off with a solid finish Tuesday night.

The finish was also the first West Region victory of the season as the Midgets used a trio of double-digit scorers en route to a 66-43 win over Williston at DHS gymnasium.

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"We took care of the ball, but we definitely had a few mental lapses," Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. "We can definitely improve, but we did a lot of nice things. We finally put one together and played hard the whole game."

After Dickinson (2-4, 1-3 West) jumped out to 9-0 lead to start the game, Williston started to slowly chip away at the lead. The closest the Coyotes (0-5, 0-3 West) came to tying the game was six, 13-7, but the Midgets continued to push the pace and claimed a 30-16 halftime lead.

The Midgets' only blemish on the stat sheet was the 1-for-10 performance from 3-point range. Dickinson finished 25 of 65 (39 percent) from the field. Williston was 19 of 53 (36 percent) from the field.

"If you take the 10 3-pointers out we shot 25 of 55, which is pretty good," Pender said. "When we move the ball to our post we get a lot of nice, good, open shots. When we one-pass shoot, we struggled."

Dickinson senior point guard Taylor Cooper, who led the team with 14 points, six rebounds and six steals, said the team wanted to increase its second-half intensity despite its double-digit halftime lead.

"We just kind of thought that we needed to pick it up a little bit," Cooper said. "We were definitely more intense in the second half than in the first half."

The Midgets did so, increasing their lead to 52-26 after the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Rachel Schroeder, who had 19 points in the Midgets' loss to No. 2-ranked Bismarck Century last Tuesday, supplied a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds. Ali Moody added 14 points and nine rebounds.

Williston head coach Josh Wastvedt was pleased with the maturation of his team young team. The Coyotes have a roster made up of two seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen.

"It's a huge improvement from the last game," Wastvedt said. "I think it's great to have those learning pains, because it's something these kids are going to remember for the next few years."

Wastvedt is also the head volleyball coach for the Coyotes.

"I think it's an advantage," he said. "I get to know the girls on the little bit different basis than a lot of coaches, because I get to work with them all year round."

Shelby Njos led Williston with 15 points and five rebounds, while Cayli Slette added 11 points, three assists and three steals.

Another bright spot for the Midgets was the team was able to play nearly all their bench players. Riley and Riana Cooper each had four points to lead the bench, which scored 15 of team's 66 points.

"That was really good," said Taylor Cooper, who is older sister of twins Riley and Riana. "We were all excited."

The Midgets host West Region opponent Bismarck High at 5:45 p.m. Friday. Pender hopes to bring the momentum and confidence after playing back-to-back solid games.

"We lost a tight one to Century and it was just nice to come back and get a win," Pender said. "Now, we have to get ready for Bismarck on Friday."

W: Shelby Njos 15, Cayli Slette 11, Keaten Ell 5, Jensen Clarke 5, Emily Lynse 4, Molly Haagenson 2, Kayla Barke 1.

D: Rachel Schroeder 17, Ali Moody 14, Taylor Cooper 14, Sydney Gangl 6, Riley Cooper 4, Riana Cooper 4, Meryl Kovacs 2, Avery Privratsky 2, Morgan Dukart 2, Lexi Kempenich 1.

Halftime: D 30-16. 3-pointers: W 4 (Slette 1, Njos 1, Clarke 1, Ell 1), D 1 (T. Cooper 1). Free throws: W 1-10, D 15-22. Total fouls: W 16, D 13. Fouled out: W, Njos. Rebounds: W 36 (Njos 5, Lynse 5), D 45 (Moody 9). Assists: W 14 (Keyanna Enget 4), D 21 (Moody 5). Steals: W 6 (Slette 3), D 15 (T. Cooper 6). Blocks: W 0, D 1 (Riley Cooper 1). Turnovers: W 22, D 13. Records: W 0-5, 0-4 West; D 2-4, 1-3 West.

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