Vacation's over: Midgets return to court after 3-week layoff
After three weeks between games, the Dickinson High boys and girls basketball teams are ready to shake off the rust, get over their many illnesses and shrug off injuries as their seasons kick into overdrive.
After a 22-day layoff between games, the Midgets are back on the court tonight when they host Bismarck Century. The girls game begins at 5:45 p.m. with the boys scheduled to follow at 7:30.
"It gets boring beating on each other in practice, playing the same people all of the time," Dickinson senior Jordan Krieg said.
Both teams come into today still fighting off cold and flu viruses that affected several people throughout the area over the holiday break. Boys head coach John Wilson said illness even hindered his team's practice plans.
"Our original plan of coming in with a big break, and what we wanted to do, we had to cut back," Wilson said. "It's going to put us a little bit behind, schematically, with things we wanted to do."
There's no time to dwell on what didn't get done though. The Midgets face a Patriots team, though unranked with a 3-3 record -- they lost their last three games, two of which came at the respected Gillette (Wyo.) Energy Classic -- are still very much considered to be one of the top teams in the West Region.
Krieg, a 6-foot-4 center, leads the way for the Midgets (3-1, 1-1 West), averaging 16 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Jaden Kudrna averaged 15.7 points in the first three games, but missed the Midgets' West Region home opener against Minot High on Dec. 22 with a high ankle sprain that has kept him sideline much of the holiday break. He is expected to be game-time decision tonight.
"He needs to take two months off and it'll probably feel better, but we don't have two months and he knows that," Wilson said. "He's going to have some agonizing pain on it, but I don't think it's something that will hold him back. He's going to fight hard to get in there. Whatever it is, his time will be limited."
On the girls side, Dickinson's task is even tougher.
The defending state champion Century girls are ranked No. 2 in Class A and sport a 5-1 record and have won their first three West Region games. They took third place at the Camel Invitational in Gillette, Wyo., in early December with their only loss of the season coming there against Campbell County, Wyo.
"We've got to slow it down in our minds," Dickinson girls head coach Dan Pender said. "We've got to say, 'OK, this is what we're going to do,' because they're going to come after us right away. We need to slow down a little bit mentally and the physical part will take over. They're going to be exhausted right away because we haven't had a game for three weeks."
Senior forward Ali Moody is off to a hot start, averaging 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Senior guard Taylor Cooper is chipping in 9.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3 assists while junior guard Sydney Gangl adds 9 points per game.
The Midgets' (1-3, 0-2 West) big task will be bottling up Century all-state senior Hannah Larson.
The all-everything 6-foot forward is averaging 14.2 points and 12.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. She was recently named The Bismarck Tribune's Sportswoman of the Year, a prestigious award given by the newspaper.
"It feels like we haven't a game in forever. I just can't wait to play," Cooper said. "We have to handle the ball and their pressure and slow down on offense. We know they're going to give the ball to Larson. She's going to be their main person. That's going to be who we have to stop."