District 14 teams chasing No. 1 HazenOnly one undefeated Class B girls basketball team remains in North Dakota, and it gets to play the District 14 tournament on its home floor.
By: Chris Aarhus, The Dickinson Press
Only one undefeated Class B girls basketball team remains in North Dakota, and it gets to play the District 14 tournament on its home floor.
Hazen (18-0) has yet to taste defeat on its way to the top spot in the Class B state media poll.
It will be up to the rest of the teams in the district to knock off the king of the hill when the district tournament starts today at the Bison Sports Arena in Hazen.
Top-seeded Hazen and No. 2 Dickinson Trinity both receive byes in the first round. No. 4 Killdeer plays fifth-seeded Hebron-Glen Ullin at 6 p.m. and No. 3 Beulah plays No. 6 Richardton-Taylor at 7:30 p.m.
The winners meet Hazen and Trinity, both of whom haven’t been kind to their district opponents this season. In Hazen’s case, stressing defense led to early wins while the offense slowly came along.
“The first thing we implemented was our different defensive sets,” Opp said. “That was able to help me early in the season and eventually, we were able to get to our offense. There’s no question that a lot of success starts on the defensive end. We really rely on that.”
The Bison beat Trinity 64-60 on Jan. 6, and Opp said any potential matchup with the Titans is “going to be a battle.”
“They came up short in a few games this season against good teams like Beach and Bottineau,” Opp said. “On any given night, they can beat anybody.”
Trinity’s 15-4 record may not look as impressive as 18-0, but the Titans’ four losses are not to be taken lightly.
Early in the season, the Titans lost to Bottineau, then ranked No. 1 in Class B, they fell to Hazen at home, were defeated fourth-ranked Kidder County at the Bismarck Civic Center and lost at Beach, which received votes in the final poll.
“That schedule alone helps to prepare for this time of year,” Trinity coach Alysia Hugret said. “We’re very thankful we had that as we head into the district tournament.”
Though Hazen and Trinity may be the consensus picks to make the district championship game, Opp said he won’t neglect the possibility of an upset.
“Anybody that’s going to overlook Killdeer or Beulah could wind up with a surprise,” Opp said. “They have some athletes.”
Hugret agreed with her coaching counterpart, addressing the fact that a few of Beulah’s players were contributors on the Miners team that went to the Region 7 championship two years ago.
“All of those girls that are the main contributors played on that team,” Hugret said.