No. 1 Beulah faces No. 3 Trinity for Region 7 championship
The game has been played countless times since they were in elementary school.
It has been a battle every time.
Beulah senior Trevor Zacher remembers losing to this same group of Dickinson Trinity seniors when he was in the fifth grade. He also remembers beating them at a tournament as eighth-graders.
"It's always a close game," Zacher said. "It's been like that forever."
The Beulah and Trinity boys basketball seniors face each other for the final time Thursday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center in the Region 7 Tournament championship game. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 7:30 p.m.
"It's just fun every time we get together," Trinity senior guard Jacob Volk said. "It's going to be crazy, it's going to be packed. It's going to be a great atmosphere."
It's the game everyone has been waiting to see.
Beulah, unbeaten with a 23-0 record and ranked No. 1 in the Class B media poll for most of the season, against Trinity, ranked No. 3 with a 21-2 record and its only losses coming against the Miners.
"If I'm a fan, this is a game I want to go to," Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. "As a coach, this is kind of game that's fun to coach in."
The Region 7 championship has gone through these two schools since this year's senior class entered high school.
As a freshman, Zacher helped the Miners reach the Class B state tournament. The next year, this year's Trinity seniors helped their team win the region title as sophomores following Heart River's upset of Beulah in the semifinals.
Last year, Beulah beat the Titans 58-54 for the crown en route to winning their first state championship.
"We both probably deserve to be in this game," Beulah head coach Jeremy Brandt said. "We probably didn't expect it to be different either. This is kind of what everybody has thought would happen."
The Miners are looking for their 40th consecutive victory dating back to last season, when they lost to Trinity 58-54 in a regular-season game on Jan. 10, 2012.
Since Jan. 17, 2012, Trinity has compiled a 29-4 record. Every one of its losses has come against Beulah.
"I think all the seniors realize it could be our last game," Volk said. "So that's just extra motivation to go out and give it your all."
This isn't the first time two teams from Region 7 were ranked high in the Class B media poll and met in a championship game for a trip to the state tournament.
The 2001-02 Region 7 season came to an end when No. 1-ranked Trinity defeated No. 2 Mott-Regent in the title. In 2005-06, No. 5 Trinity beat No. 4 Bowman for the title.
Grinsteinner said this year's matchup has many similarities to those in the past.
"You're going to see two teams who are very athletic, very identical," Grinsteinner said. "They're going to guard the heck out of you on the defensive side of the floor and they're going to be going hard to the basket and taking shots.
"It's a matter of who's going to make the most plays. I don't think you can give an advantage to either team."