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Midgets prepare for toughest test

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson freshman Caden Haugen, left, tries for a pin against Tyler Stranberg of Minot during the third place match at 120 pounds during the Dickinson Classic on Dec. 21 at DHS gymnasium.

There’s no doubt tonight’s West Region dual between Dickinson High and Turtle Mountain has postseason implications.

The winner will more than likely be the No. 3 seed from the West Region at the North Dakota Class A state dual tournament.

The loser will more than likely be the No. 4 seed and have to face two-time defending Class A dual champion West Fargo.

Needless to say, neither team wants to meet the Packers in the first round of the dual tournament.

“If we beat Turtle Mountain, we won’t have to wrestle against West Fargo and they are one of the top two teams in the state,” Dickinson senior Devin Berger said. “You never really want to go against the No. 1 seed, but you never know what could happen.”

The teams meet at 4 p.m. today in Belcourt.

The Midgets enter the dual with a perfect 5-0 record with wins over Mandan, Minot, Bismarck St. Mary’s, Williston and Jamestown. Dickinson’s lone dual loss on the season was against Sidney, Mont., on Jan. 2.

Dickinson defeated the Braves 36-31 in last year’s West Region dual, which helped it solidify the No. 3 seed in the West Region. The Midgets went on to take fourth at the 2013 Class A state dual tournament.

“It’s always a big deal and this is a big rivalry,” Dickinson co-head coach Adam Orton said. “We are always gunning for that No. 3 spot in the region and often times the team that wins this dual gets a better seed to get some hardware at the state duals. It’s definitely an important dual. If there’s one dual that we need to get, it’s this one.”

The Braves have nine players ranked in the Class A individual polls, including five returning state placers — Grant Laducer, Eugene Fleetwood, Geraldo Fox, Brandon Rodriguez and Waylon DeCoteau.

To make matters worse for the Midgets, multiple wrestlers are missing from the starting lineup, including seniors Michael Cherwinski and Chris Sickler, and junior Dillon Clark. All three are dealing with injuries.

“It’s going to be tough because we have five guys out of our starting lineup,” Berger said. “We would have had to wrestle hard with all of our guys, but now we are going to have to wrestle 130 percent if we want to win.”

Despite the injuries, Orton is confident Dickinson can come away with a West Region win on the road.

“If we come out to wrestle like we have the potential to, we can definitely have some upsets and get stuff done,” he said. “There’s no room for any slacking off.”

Trinity meets Beach for first time since Region 7 title game

The last time the Beach and Dickinson Trinity girls basketball team met on the court was during the Region 7 championship.

The game was tied 27-27 at halftime.

However, in the second half, the Buccaneers pulled away to win their fourth straight Region 7 title 55-35.

The Titans haven’t forgotten.

No. 3-ranked Beach returns to Knights of Columbus Activities Center to play Trinity at 7 p.m. today.

“We did play well against them the last time we played them,” Trinity head coach Alysia Barman said. “We have all of those girls back that played in that game and they have a majority of their group back too. We’re excited about the game. We think it’s going to be a very competitive game.”

Senior guard Rachel Jahner leads the Titans with 12.7 points per game while sophomore Kennedy Keator averages 11.8 points. Trinity is scoring 57.6 points per game, while allowing 41.4.

Beach (6-0, 1-0 Region 7) has key wins over New Town, Linton-HMB and Lemmon (S.D.). After losing back-to-back games against New Town and No. 1-ranked Minot Ryan, the Titans (7-2, 1-0 Region 7) have won five straight.

Barman said playing the tough early-season schedule should bode well for the remainder of the season.

“The early competitive schedule is really starting to benefit us now,” Barman said. “Being able to work on some of the things we saw early and we are practicing them every day.”

New England looks to rebound after its first loss

On Tuesday afternoon, the New England boys basketball team was the only unbeaten left in Region 7.

Killdeer dealt the Tigers their first loss of the season that night.

New England (7-1, 1-1 Region 7) has a pair of tough matchups against Region 5 teams ahead as it hosts Flasher today and travels to Grant County on Saturday.

“That’s not a bad opportunity to be able to bounce back from a loss and have two games against teams that aren’t region opponents,” New England head coach Luke Powers said. “Not that these games don’t mean something. We want to step on the floor and compete every game. The 11 Region 7 games that we play this year are big games and we want to do the best we can there to give ourselves a good seed heading into the region tournament.

“It will be nice to play these other games against Region 5 opponents to see where we stand and get back on track.”

Daniel Prince, a 6-foot-4 junior forward, leads the Tigers with 16 points per game. John Urlacher, a 6-1 guard, is averaging 14.9 points and sophomore guard Brady Bender supplies 12.5.

As a team, New England is scoring 58.5 points per game and allowing 44. Powers wants his team to continually make strides in the right direction so it can be ready when it matters the most — postseason.

“We were realistic going into the year knowing with the tough region we play in that you aren’t going to win every game,” Powers said. “The important thing is to get back to work, get better, learn from the mistakes that we made and try to be better the next time out. We want to be working toward our goal which is peaking at the end of the year.”