Midgets force OT, but St. Mary's boys prevailAnother West Region opponent dealt another heartbreaking loss to the Dickinson High boys basketball team Friday night.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Another West Region opponent dealt another heartbreaking loss to the Dickinson High boys basketball team Friday night.
Bismarck St. Mary’s struggled from the free-throw line in the second half, but did just enough after regulation to give the Midgets their fifth consecutive loss, 72-66 in overtime.
“I’m really disappointed in the fact that we didn’t get this one,” Dickinson head coach John Wilson said. “We’re playing basketball the way we want to. The thing that’s killing us is our focus in crucial situations.”
The Saints shot 7 of 18 from the free-throw line in the second half. However, St. Mary’s was 5 of 6 in overtime.
“I think if we would have made some free throws earlier, we maybe could have had more of a working margin,” St. Mary’s head coach Joe Mueller said. “Credit to them, we missed free throws and they were able to capitalize.”
Dickinson (3-9, 1-9 West) has lost three of its last four games by single digits, including a 55-54 loss at Bismarck Century on Thursday. Wilson said the key to the losses is not maintaining focus throughout the game.
“Our average point margin is six points per game,” Wilson said. “We’re losing by six points per game and we just have to fix those things mentally or we are going to stay on this side of those 6-point games.”
The Midgets shot 12 of 15 from the free-throw line. The primary component of their success was junior Jordan Krieg, who was 11 of 12.
“It’s just setting up and having confidence,” said Krieg, who had a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds. “Coach mentions it a lot in practice that free throws win ball games.”
Late in the second half, Dickinson was able to capitalize on the Saints’ missed free throws.
With 4 minutes, 23 seconds left in the game, Krieg drained a pair of free throws that tied the game at 52.
St. Mary’s (7-5, 6-4 West) took a 59-52 lead, after sophomore Scott Nagel, who sat out a majority of the second half because of foul trouble, drained two 3-pointers. Nagel finished with 16 points.
After Krieg sank two more free throws, Ben Weisbeck increased the Saints’ lead back to six with a free throw of his own. Weisbeck ended with 16 points.
Dickinson senior Austin Fournier had trouble shooting from the field, but made his lone 3-pointer count to bring the Midgets within three, 60-57.
After Dickinson and St. Mary’s traded points, Midgets senior Jesse Kessel made the crowd erupt with the game-tying 3-pointer with 4 seconds left in regulation. He sent it into overtime tied at 62.
“It felt good,” said Kessel, who had 11 points. “I think it helps a lot just getting the fans behind you.”
The Saints had one last shot, but it clanked off the basket as the teams headed into overtime. The momentum was on the Midgets’ side.
“(Kessel) is a great leader, he made a big shot,” Krieg said. “That gave us a lot of confidence and momentum heading into overtime.”
The Saints’ troubles at the line ended and they outscored the Midgets 10-4 in the final 4 minutes.
“It’s so frustrating now,” Kessel said. “At the beginning of the year, if we stayed with a team like that we would have been happy. We just have to focus and get the win.”
St. Mary’s took a 26-25 lead at halftime and each team made the usual minor adjustments.
Darius Sparks fueled the Saints’ offense early in the second half. He finished with 15 points and five steals. He made four 3-pointers.
“He’s a good shooter,” Mueller said. “He made some big shots early and got us off to a good start.”
The loss stings the Midgets, but Krieg knows his team has the talent to win close ball games.
“We have the athletes, we have the talent,” he said. “We just need to focus and we have to prepare for every game. We’ll get there.”
SM: Scott Nagel 16, Ben Weisbeck 16, Darius Sparks 15, Preston Tesher 10, Brad Obritsch 8, David Neff 7.
D: Jordan Krieg 20, Jesse Kessel 11, Jon Wanner 11, Austin Fournier 9, Jaden Kudrna 7, Tyrell Parker 4, Tanner Halter 2, Vance Volesky 2.
Halftime: SM 26-25. 3-pointers: SM 8 (Sparks 4, Nagel 2, Tesher 1, Weisbeck 1), D 4 (Fournier 1, Kessel 1, Krieg 1, Kudrna 1). Free throws: SM 16-32, D 12-15. Total fouls: SM 15, D 21. Fouled out: D, Fournier, Parker. Rebounds: SM 29 (Sparks 5, Tesher 5), D 38 (Krieg 12). Assists: SM 0, D 2. Steals: SM 14 (Sparks 5), D 13 (Parker 3, Wanner 3). Blocks: SM 0, D 0. Turnovers: SM 15, D 19. Records: SM 7-5, 6-4 West; D 3-9, 1-9 West.