Sickler, top-seeded Titans use big 4th quarter to top Hazen for District 14 title
At the beginning of the season, Alanna Sickler wasn't even on the Dickinson Trinity girls basketball team's varsity roster.
On Tuesday night, the freshman forward was a big reason why the Titans won the District 14 Tournament championship and earned a No. 1 seed in the Region 7 Tournament that begins next Monday.
Sickler, who didn't join the team until its sixth game and then missed three games late in the season with an ankle injury, scored a game-high 16 points and had key baskets in every quarter to lead the top-seeded Titans to a 46-30 victory over third-seeded Hazen at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
"That's been one thing since she's been back is having a little bit of confidence with her game," Trinity head coach Alysia Barman said. "We told her the other day, you just need to quit worrying, you need to go have fun, you don't need to worry about injuries. Nothing's going to break. You're fine. Go have fun, go play like you were playing when you weren't thinking about anything. She stepped up tonight and did that."
Many of Sickler's freshman teammates played just as big of a role as her at moments too -- especially Kennedy Keator, who scored all seven points during Trinity's 14-2 run over a 3-minute span in the fourth quarter to take control of the game.
Playing without a senior on the roster, the Titans have now won 13 of their last 14 games and improved their record to 16-5.
"We definitely worked really well together as a freshman and junior team," Sickler said. "We just have to go hard on each other and it shows."
Trinity junior Rachel Jahner sparked the fourth-quarter surge by swishing a 3-pointer from the left wing with just under 6 minutes to play.
It was her first points since midway through the first quarter and they came at nearly a perfect time as the Titans clung to a 29-25 lead.
Jahner finished with 10 points while junior Jillian Stockert added nine points and five rebounds.
Stockert was big in the third quarter as she made Trinity's lone field goal of the frame that ended with the Titans leading 27-23 after both teams scored just six points.
Hazen head coach John Ward said his team just didn't have what it needed to beat the Titans.
Trinity held a 38-22 edge on the boards while the Bison committed 19 turnovers and shot just 10 of 30 from the field.
Senior Rachael Hansana was the lone Hazen player in double figures. She had team highs of 12 points and four rebounds.
"We couldn't get things rolling like we normally do and we didn't pass the ball around," Ward said. "We didn't play quite as well as a team as we have before."
Barman said much of Trinity's success, especially down the stretch, had to do with controlling the flow of the game.
They finally did that by establishing a 21-17 halftime lead after Stockert buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 27 seconds remaining. Trinity never led by less than four points the rest of the way.
"We'd talked about before the game, making sure we control the tempo," said Barman, who was named District 14 Coach of the Year. "They like to push the ball and we wanted to limit some of that."
The Titans will play Hettinger-Scranton, the No. 4 seed from District 14, in the quarterfinals of the Region 7 Tournament at 3 p.m. Monday, March 11 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
Barman said she's beginning to like what she sees out of the Titans as they head into the most important part of the postseason.
"Each day, you can see a little bit more of that familiarity," Barman said. "I think there's a lot of confidence within the group right now."
Hazen 9 17 23 30
Trinity 8 21 27 46
H: Rachael Hansana 12, Dakota Wood 6, Sadie Bolton 4, Ashton Carter 4, Lexie Biffert 2, Mariya Schneider 2.
T: Alanna Sickler 16, Rachel Jahner 10, Jillian Stocker 9, Kennedy Keator 7, Katelyn Grinsteinner 2, Madison Jahner 2.
3-pointers: H 1 (Hansana), T 3 (R. Jahner 2, Stocker 1). Free throws: H 9-13, T 11-17. Total fouls: H 19, T 18. Fouled out: H, Biffert. Rebounds: H 22 (Hansana 4, Bolton 4), T 38 (Keator 6). Assists: H 16 (Wood 2), T 12 (Grinsteinner 4). Steals: H 7 (Biffert 3), T 12 (R. Jahner 3). Blocks: H 1 (Hansana), T 0. Turnovers: H 19, T 13.
Beulah 53, Hebron-Glen Ullin 47
The fifth-seeded Miners held off the sixth-seeded Bearcats in the final minute after giving up a 14-0 run at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth to advance to the region tournament.
Hebron-Glen Ullin trailed 42-28 near the end of the third quarter but rallied in the first four minutes of the fourth tie it at 42. The teams traded points until up to a 45-45 tie with just over a minute remaining before Beulah broke free by forcing turnovers and making its free throws.
Delaney Johansen led the Miners with 22 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Jamie Murschel, Lakin Kessler and Nessa Iverson each scored eight points. Kessler had five steals and Murschel grabbed nine rebounds.
Beulah will have the No. 4 seed in at regionals and faces District 13 champion Beach at 6 p.m. next Monday.
Alyssa Wehri led the balanced scoring for the Bearcats with 11 points. Teasha Voegele had nine points and five rebounds, MaKenzie Glass had seven points and 10 rebounds while Kari Gerving and Kendra Gerving each had eight points and five boards.
Beulah 8 24 42 53
GUH 11 20 30 47
B: Delaney Johansen 22, Nessa Iverson 8, Lakin Kessler 8, Jamie Murschel 8, Maiya Gerde 3, Brianna Howard 2, Kelsie Schmidt 2.
GUH: Alyssa Wehri 11, Teasha Voegele 9, Kari Gerving 8, Kendra Gerving 8, MaKenzie Glass 7, Ivy Burbidge 3, Michaela Gerving 1.
3-pointers: B 3 (Iverson 1, Gerde 1, Johansen 1), GUH 3 (Wehri 3). Free throws: B 20-30, GUH 6-12. Total fouls: B 13, GUH 19. Rebounds: B 34 (Murschel 9, Johansen 9), GUH 44 (Glass 10). Assists: B 5 (five with one), GUH 12 (Kari Gerving 3). Steals: B 13 (Kessler 5), GUH 11 (Wehri 3). Blocks: B 4 (Kessler 3), GUH 4 (Glass 2). Turnovers: B 21, GUH 23.
Killdeer 56, Richardton-Taylor 41
Morgan LeMieux and Ashley Brew led the way for the second-seeded Cowboys with 15 points apiece as they took advantage of the fourth-seeded Raiders' cold shooting en route to earning a spot in the region tournament.
Killdeer took a 40-34 lead into the fourth quarter and used a dozen unanswered points to seal the win.
Kelsey Knutson, Jurnee Murray, Alison Scheetz and Jessica Starr each scored six points for the Cowboys. LeMieux had a team-high nine rebounds.
Raiders forward Halle Olson, who was named the District 13 Senior Athlete of the Year, ended her career with a bang. She had 22 points, 12 rebounds and six steals.
However, she combined with her twin sister Logan and sophomore MiKayla Aluise -- the Raiders' top three scorers -- to shoot just 11 of 55 from the field. Richardton-Taylor (8-13) shot 15 of 67 (22 percent) as a team.
Killdeer 10 20 40 56
RT 8 17 34 41
K: Ashley Brew 15, Morgan LeMieux 15, Jurnee Murray 6, Kelsey Knutson 6, Alison Scheetz 6, Jessica Starr 6, Hannah Balderas 2.
RT: Halle Olson 22, Hannah Rummel 5, Logan Olson 4, MiKayla Aluise 4, Samantha Stenier 4, Cassidy Diede 2.
3-pointers: K 2 (Starr 2), RT 5 (H. Olson 5). Free throws: K 4-7, RT 6-8. Total fouls: K 10, RT 8. Fouled out: RT Stenier. Rebounds: K 44 (LeMieux 9, Starr 9), RT 44 (H. Olson 12). Assists: K 18 (LeMieux 6), RT 13 (Aluise 5). Steals: K 7 (Scheetz 3), RT 13 (H. Olson 6). Blocks: K 5 (LeMieux 3), RT 3 (three with 1). Turnovers: K 18, RT 14.
All-District 14 Team
MiKayla Aluise, Richardton-Taylor; Ashley Brew, Killdeer; Ashton Carter, Hazen; Rachael Hansana, Hazen; Rachel Jahner, Dickinson Trinity; Delaney Johansen, Beulah; Morgan LeMieux, Killdeer; Jamie Murschel, Beulah; Halle Olson, Richardton-Taylor; Logan Olson, Richardton-Taylor; Alanna Sickler, Dickinson Trinity.
Senior Athlete of the Year: Halle Olson, Richardton-Taylor.
Coach of the Year: Alysia Barman, Dickinson Trinity.