Mandan ends Dickinson High's season in state-qualifying game
BISMARCK -- Both teams Dickinson High faced in the two first West Region Tournament games tailored its defense to limit Jordan Krieg.
Mandan head boys basketball coach Jason Horner had the same game plan.
Though his plan somewhat backfired in the first half, Horner wasn't switching defenses during the final 18 minutes as the No. 5-seed Braves defeated the No. 6-seed Midgets 63-47 in a state-qualifying game on Saturday afternoon at the Bismarck Civic Center.
"I'd rather take our chances with perimeter shots than let Krieg go for 25 points and just kill you," Horner said. "We always just tried to sandwich him as much as we could.
"We wanted to be on Krieg before he put it on the floor. He's so quick and powerful. He gets to the rim so fast that you don't have much of a chance after that."
Krieg, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior post, finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. He said the double- and triple-team defenses were a motivating drive for him.
"It's fun knowing that teams plan for you," Krieg said. "If you expect to get double teamed, then it's not a surprise. You just have to prepare for it mentally. You just make the right play or the right pass."
With Krieg knowing those defenses are coming, he told his guards to be ready to shoot.
The company of junior Dylan Skabo and sophomore Mark Erickson were definitely ready in the first half. The two combined to for 4-for-5 from 3-point range and helped spark the Midgets' offense. Skabo and Erickson, who finished with nine points, helped Dickinson take a 12-6 lead at the 11-minute, 26-second mark of the first half.
"Their focus was on Krieg and if the guards have an open look, we have to shoot," said Skabo, who finished with a team-high 15 points, three assists and two steals. "If they don't go in, forget about it and keep shooting."
Skabo's job wasn't only to get open looks, but also to guard the West Region's top scoring threat.
Mandan senior Erron Collins leads the West Region averaging 20.1 points per game. In Dickinson's final home game on Feb. 26, Skabo held Collins to 12 points.
Collins finished Saturday with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
"You're not going to hold Collins to zero points," Skabo said with a smile. "Anything under 15 is really good. He's a really good player. I just tried to stay in front of him and contest everything."
After final 10-minute surge in the first half, Mandan held a 32-27 advantage at halftime.
The Midgets were 5 of 11 (46 percent) from 3-point range in the first half. Dickinson's marksmanship from beyond the arc was not the same in the second half. The Midgets were 2-for-12 (17 percent) after halftime to finish 7-for-23 (30 percent).
"We shot really well in the first half and in the second half, we just didn't," Dickinson head coach John Wilson said. "We told our kids with the way people have been playing us that if you have an open look, you've got to take it. The first half they fell, the second half they didn't."
Though Dickinson's shots weren't falling, the Braves (9-13) were making theirs. Mandan went 8 of 16 from the field in the second half and stretched a six-point lead it had kept throughout much of the second half on late free throws. The Braves were 14 of 22 (64 percent) from the line.
Dickinson never held the lead in the second half, but did tie it at 35 after a Skabo 3-pointer with 16:19 remaining. From there, Mandan went on a 28-12 run to close out the game.
Horner said he was happy getting points from his forwards.
Jacob Hanson led the Braves in the post with 11 points and five rebounds.
"I thought we did a great job of sharing the ball," Horner said. "We struggled all year with some post scoring and we finally got some post scoring. It just opens up everything."
Mandan will have a the No. 3 seed going into the Class A state boys basketball tournament, which begins Thursday at the Civic Center.
Dickinson ends its season with an 11-11 overall record. It marked the final game for seniors Krieg, Jaden Kudrna and Alex Huschka.
"I think this a group of men that need to think about what they did accomplish as young men, players, athletes and as Dickinson High basketball players," Wilson said.
D: Dylan Skabo 15, Jordan Krieg 13, Mark Erickson 9, Parker Egli 4, Luke Herauf 2, Jaden Kudrna 2, Levi Jordheim 2.
M: Erron Collins 16, Jacob Hanson 11, Adam Lech 8, Daniel Peterson 7, Nathan Schmidt 7, Dokken Olson 6, Justin Fenster 4, Keetan Wanner 2, Ross Effertz 2.
Halftime: M 32-27. 3-pointers: D 7 (Skabo 3, Erickson 3, Krieg 1), M 5 (Collins 2, Lech 2, Peterson 1). Free throws: D 10-15, M 18-31. Total fouls: D 22, M 15. Fouled out: D, Krieg. Rebounds: D 23 (Krieg 7), M 35 (Collins 7). Assists: D 9 (Kudrna 3, Skabo 3), M 13 (Collins 6). Steals: D 5 (Skabo 2, Jordheim 2), M 7 (Collins 4). Blocks: D 1 (Krieg 1), M 0. Turnovers: D 16, M 12. Records: D 11-11, M 9-13.