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Monke: Prep basketball season gets cooking this week

Dickinson Trinity guard Jacob Volk, left, plays defense against New England guard Austin Fitterer during the 41st annual Roughrider Tournament championship boys basketball game on Dec. 10, 2011. The teams square off in the opening game of the tournament at 3 p.m. today.1 / 2
Dustin Monke, Press Sports Editor2 / 2

As one area coach says, it's time to just roll a the ball onto the court and let 'em play.

High school basketball season is here folks and it cranks up this week.

Though the Class B boys basketball season is already into its third week, everyone else begins catching up this week.

Class A boys and girls have started with Dickinson High opening up this week. The Dickinson High girls team hosts Custer County of Miles City, Mont., while the boys team travels to there to play the Cowboys.

Class B girls gets under way Friday with most teams in the area opening their seasons this weekend.

Always the most interesting, however, is the 42nd annual Roughrider boys basketball tournament, which begins today at Knights of Columbus Activities Center with matchups of District 13 vs. District 14 teams.

Last winter, the Region 7 boys basketball season was one of the best I've ever seen, complete with a state champion as Beulah beat Dickinson Trinity for the region title and, one week later, traveled to Grand Forks and beat three previously undefeated teams (Central Cass, Berthold and North Star) to win its first state title.

It was the stuff of legend and capped off a great season built by great stories and athletes.

Here are a few storylines to watch this season:

-- Which boys team is it going to be in Region 7? Beulah, Trinity or is another team going to sneak in and shock the southwest? Heart River, Hazen and Bowman County all had big dreams coming into the season, but Hazen and Bowman County have already experienced defeat in unexpected manner.

-- Can the Dickinson High boys basketball team build around senior all-West Region center Jordan Krieg and make a run at the Class A state tournament that has eluded them the past three seasons?

How about the Midget girls? They haven't reached the state tournament since 2004. Can a team full of size, speed and experience get them back there in March?

-- What, if any, hiccups will the Beach girls basketball team experience without the services of 6-foot sophomore center Channa Clarin, who is out for the season with a knee injury? Can the Buccaneers, who have a 76-4 record over the past three seasons, make it four consecutive trips to the state tournament? Or is this the year that their amazing run ends, or at least takes a break? Beach begins its season Friday afternoon in Hazelton against Napoleon.

-- Who are going to be the next players who makes us stand up and take notice of their skills?

High school basketball season is here folks, and if you can't already tell, I'm excited.

Take my advice and find your way to a few games this week and more of them throughout the season. You won't be disappointed.

Monke is the sports editor of The Dickinson Press. Reach him at dmonke@thedickinsonpress.com. Follow him on Twitter at monkebusiness.

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

(701) 456-1205
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