Midgets push No. 1 Demons to brinkThe Dickinson High boys basketball team held every Bismarck High player in check — except Dexter Werner.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson High boys basketball team held every Bismarck High player in check — except Dexter Werner.
The Midgets nearly pulled off an upset over Class A’s No. 1-ranked team, but the Demons drained three free throws in the final 30 seconds to hold on for a 66-60 West Region win Friday night at DHS gymnasium.
“I’m very proud of our kids and they are turning the corner,” Dickinson head coach John Wilson said. “I think they can still walk out of here with their heads held high.”
Werner, a North Dakota State basketball recruit, made two free throws to finish with a game-high 35 points. His 6-foot-6 frame made it a long night in the post for the Midgets.
“I don’t know who’s going to have an answer for Dexter Werner in the league,” Wilson said. “He’s going to NDSU for a reason. He’s one fantastic player.”
Though the Demons (8-1, 6-0 West) came away with a win to stay undefeated in the West Region, head coach Steve Miller said the wrong team won.
“You’ve got to give the Dickinson kids the credit tonight,” he said. “They came and played the hardest. I told our guys, ‘The wrong team won tonight.’”
The Midgets offensive answer for Werner was 6-foot guard Jon Wanner. The senior has been waiting for this type of game. He supplied 22 points and was 4 of 4 from 3-point range.
“I have been waiting for this night for a pretty long time,” he said. “It’s nice to come out and keep shooting.”
Junior guard Jaden Kudrna helped the Midgets late, tallying 11 of his 15 points in the second half.
“You can just tell when Jaden gets into a flow,” Wilson said. “He gets that basketball look in him. He just lets the game come and doesn’t have to think.”
Bismarck led 29-23 at halftime, but Dickinson’s night was far from over. The Midgets (3-5, 1-5 West) battled back to tie the game at 53 on a Vance Volesky free throw.
From there, whenever Dickinson made a basket or created a turnover, Bismarck responded immediately. Wanner said the tam has to continue staying relaxed despite the intensity of the crowd.
“It’s pretty awesome for the crowd to be that loud,” he said. “I’ve haven’t heard it that loud in forever.”
The Midgets fell into a 10-point deficit 5 minutes into the game. Wilson said his team’s zone defense in the first half helped them overcome that.
“I thought our zone was phenomenal, they struggled really early with it,” he said. “Then they made some adjustments at the half and started skipping the ball.”
Despite losing, Wanner said he’s proud of the way his team was able to fight.
“We knew we had to keep working hard,” Wanner said. “We were putting up a fight and we were able to keep that strong defense until the end of the game.”
The Midgets hope to take the same level of intensity for the remainder of the season.
“Everything starts with us believing,” Wilson said. “We need to walk out of here believing that we are a good team. Our record maybe reflects the early part of our season. It only matters how we end.”
B: Dexter Werner 35, Taylor Schafter 11, Devin Schirado 9, Ben Jolliffe 4, James Iron Eyes 3, Tyler Unruh 3, Josh Seibel 1.
D: Jon Wanner 22, Jaden Kudrna 15, Austin Fournier 8, Jordan Krieg 7, Tyrell Parker 6, Brett Braunagel 1, Vance Volesky 1.
Halftime: B 29-23. 3-pointers: B 5 (Schafer 3, Iron Eyes 1, Unruh 1), D 7 (Wanner 4, Fournier 1, Kudrna 1, Krieg 1). Free throws: B 11-18, D 13-21. Total fouls: B 19, D 21. Fouled out: D, Parker. Rebounds: B 36 (Werner 10), D 38 (Parker 10). Assists: B 0, D 3. Steals: B 4, D 3. Blocks: B 2 (Werner 2), D 0. Turnovers: B 16, D 16. Records: B 8-1 (West 6-0), D 3-5 (West 1-5).