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Midgets dominate, roll past Coyotes

The Dickinson High girls basketball team still hasn’t learned to play a complete game, but its first half performance was enough to come away with a win.

The Midgets gave up an 18-point lead at halftime, but battled back to win 60-45 over the Coyotes in a West Region game at DHS gymnasium. Dickinson has beaten Williston both times this season.

“In the second half we came out a little complacent, they thought we had the win before,” Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. “But you got to give the girls credit, they battled back and still won by (15). We did some nice things.”

Williston came out of the half with more aggression and held Dickinson scoreless for the first 7 minutes, 11 seconds. Dickinson senior guard Riley Cooper and junior forward Meryl Kovacs — finished with 15 and 10 total points, respectively — combined for seven points in the next 1:22 minutes but Williston fought its way up and came within three points after a 3-pointer by senior guard Shelby Njos. The Midgets led 41-38 with under 10 minutes to go in the game.

Once the Midgets got comfortable with Williston’s aggression, they bounced back to avoid the upset.

Dickinson scored nine unanswered points and kept the game in its favor with clutch defensive performances from senior forward Sierra Rohr and junior guard Lillie Meduna. Not to mention going 16 of 21 from the free-throw line. Rohr tied for a game-high 10 rebounds and five points, while Meduna had five each.

“We played hard, got after it on defense, got in their face,” Kovacs said. “Offensively, we tried to move the ball and get some open shots.”

Rohr added: “We took a mental break coming in from the first half. We picked it up at the end which was good.”

The Midgets started off with a 7-0 lead in the game and never let the Coyotes come closer than four points. With 10:27 left, Williston senior Emily Lysne went 2 for 2 at the free-throw line, making her team’s deficit 11-7.

One minute later, junior forward Meryl Kovacs hit a jumper in front of the net on a long pass from senior forward Sydney Gangl to kickstart Dickinson’s run. The Midgets ran away and outscored Williston 21-9.

Williston struggled with shooting all night and finished 17 for 62 (27 percent) from the field and were led by Njos and Lysne with 15 and 10 points, respectfully. Njos also added a game-high 5 assists.

“We came out very flat, we didn’t play consistent basketball and we weren’t being very aggressive in the second half we kind of turned that around a little bit,” Williston head coach Josh Wastvedt said. “If we played the second half the entire game it would have been different.”

Dickinson travels to play Bismarck St. Mary’s in a West Region game at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

“We’re still battling,” Pender said. “We’re in the eight seed now and we have a chance to get to the seven seed. We got to go down to St. Mary’s and we got to play our best game on Thursday.”

Williston: Shelby Njos 15, Emily Lysne 10, Maria Semenko 8, Jensen Clarke 6, Katie Nice 4, Amanda Nelson 2.

Dickinson: Meryl Kovacs 15, Raegen Linster 11, Riley Cooper 10, Sydney Gangl 6, Riana Cooper 6, Lillie Meduna 5, Sierra Rohr 5, Avery Privratsky 2.

Halftime score: D 34-16. 3-pointers: W 3 (Njos 2, Clarke 1), D 7 (Linster 2, Riana Cooper 2, Riley Cooper 2, Sydney Gangl 1). Free throws: W 8-15, D 21-27. Total fouls: W 21, D 16. Rebounds: W 46 (Semenko 10), D 54 (Rohr 10). Assists: W 13 (Njos 5), D 12 (Linster 5). Steals: W 8 (Clarke 4), D 9 (four with two). Turnovers: W 15, D 19.

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.