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Winning No. 400: Dickinson Trinity handles Killdeer, gives Grinsteinner milestone win

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner, middle, talks with his team during a timeout in a Region 7 game against Killdeer on Tuesday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. The Titans defeated the Cowboys 64-52, which gave Grinsteinner his 400th win.

Before the game, head coach Gregg Grinsteinner’s message to the Dickinson Trinity boys basketball team was to block out all the distractions.

There were plenty of distractions the Titans could have got caught up in — trying for Grinsteinner’s 400th win, claiming the No. 2 seed in the Region 7 Tournament and closing out the regular season on the high note.

Trinity didn’t accomplish just one, it snagged all three en route to a 64-52 win over Killdeer on Tuesday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

“We talked to the kids about just embracing the moment and lets go out and get the (No.) 2 seed,” said Grinsteinner, who has a 400-101 record as the head coach of Trinity. “There are a lot of things going on tonight, but don’t worry about anything else or than doing that. I thought our kids for the most part did a nice job. There was a lot of pressure on the kids with everything going on. It was almost like a region game.”

After the game, Trinity congratulated Grinsteinner with his 400th win. He said it’s nice to one and done with chances at accomplishing the milestone win.

“The monkey is off not only my back, but the kid’s back,” he said. “I know the kids were feeling a little bit of pressure over it. It’s now just about us playing basketball.”

After Trinity junior Cole Wilhelmi knocked in an opening 3-pointer at the 7-minute, 29-second mark of the first quarter, the Cowboys never held a lead. Wilhelmi finished with 10 points, three assists and two steals.

The Titans (12-8, 9-2 Region 7) opened with a 7-2 run. Killdeer countered with a brief 7-4 run to get within two, 11-9, but Trinity responded with 6-3 advantage over the final 2 minutes.

In the second quarter, the Cowboys went on a 10-2 run, but Trinity held a 23-22 lead. The Titans didn’t falter and went on a tear to close out the quarter with an 8-0 run.

“We can’t really relax in any game when we have a lead or when you’re behind,” said Trinity senior Austin Deichert, who finished with a team-high 14 points and five assists. “You just have to come out and play your game.”

During the final 16 minutes, the Cowboys (12-8, 6-5 Region 7) kept fighting, but couldn’t match punch-for-punch with the Titans. Trinity finished with four players in double figures and was 26 of 53 (49 percent) from the field. Killdeer had two and shot 20 of 48 (42 percent).

The Cowboys’ two biggest deterrents were turnovers and rebounds. Killdeer committed 22 turnovers and allowed 11 offensive rebounds to Trinity.

“(Trinity) just played more disciplined basketball than us,” Killdeer head coach Andy Murphy said. “Right now, we make fundamental mistakes all the time. You can’t win many games against good teams when you turn the ball over so much or don’t box out. It’s just fundamental things that we are lacking right now. Those things are all fixable. Everything we are doing wrong can be fixed.”

Murphy was a former player of Grinsteinner and was part of the 2004 state championship team.

Though Murphy isn’t satisfied with a loss, he said it was special seeing Grinsteinner win No. 400.

“It means a lot to me, because I’m part of those wins,” Murphy said. “I might be on the other side right now, but I was part of those wins. Hats off to him. He’s doing an amazing job.”

Killdeer’s Trenton Rohr and Calum Blankenship each had 14 points, while Hayes LeMieux added eight. Tuff Kling supplied seven points and six rebounds.

Willy Jahner came off the bench to score 13 points and five assists. Joe Mayer added 11 points. Brett Mortenson and Jon Volk each grabbed five rebounds.

The Titans have the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye entering the Region 7 Tournament. Trinity will play on Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

“It was important to get this win and some momentum going into the regional tournament,” Deichert said. “After this game, it’s the 24-hour rule just like every game. Now we have to start playing our best basketball, because you are going to take everyone’s best shot every night. It’s win or go home for everyone.”

Killdeer has the No. 5 seed and hosts Bowman County/Glen Ullin-Hebron at 7 p.m. Friday.

“It doesn’t matter who we host,” Murphy said. “We just have to come out and play basketball. We need play this year’s Cowboy basketball.”

Killdeer 12 22 36 52

Trinity 17 31 49 64

K: Trenton Rohr 14, Calum Blankenship 14, Hayes LeMieux 8, Tuff Kling 7, Lewis Dobitz 7, Sean Tuhy 2.

T: Austin Deichert 14, Willy Jahner 13, Joe Mayer 11, Cole Wilhelmi 10, Shawn Stoltz 8, Brett Mortenson 6, Brock Messer 2.

3-pointers: K 4 (Rohr 2, Kling 1, Dobitz 1), T 5 (Wilhelmi 2, Jahner 2, Mayer 1). Free throws: K 8-11, T 7-16. Total fouls: K 16, T 10. Fouled out: K, Rohr. Rebounds: K 27 (Kling 6), T 28 (Mortenson 5, Volk 5). Assists: K 10 (LeMieux 4), T 15 (Jahner 5). Steals: K 14, T 21 (Deichert 5). Blocks: K 2 (Rohr 1, LeMieux 1), T 1 (Jahner 1). Turnovers: K 22, T 14. Records: K 12-8 (6-5 Region 7), T 12-8 (9-2 Region 7).