Most Improved Buc: Dykins, Beach’s only senior, goes from bench to standoutBEACH — Kelcee Dykins can’t help but smile as she talks about her senior season.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
BEACH — Kelcee Dykins can’t help but smile as she talks about her senior season.
The Beach senior forward has much to be happy about.
Dykins’ team is in the Class B state girls basketball tournament for a third consecutive season and she’s a big reason why.
However, this is her first turn at the state tournament as the team’s star.
“I’ve had to wait my turn,” Dykins said.
Last season, Dykins came off the bench and either played a handful of intense minutes to give starters a breather or stayed seated until Beach had a big enough lead that her lengthy presence on the court meant, more or less, the Buccaneers had assured victory.
“She’s been on the back shelf, right behind those players that we had that we graduated the last two years,” Beach head coach Bob Waldal said, referring to standout forwards Brittney Dietz and Jill Rising, who graduated last year. “She had to play behind them.”
As Beach’s only senior, Dykins used her final season to become the player she’d always hoped to be.
“I just wanted to give it all I had. It’s my last year,” she said. “With the help of my teammates, I did what I could. They’ve helped me out a lot to get to where I am.”
Dykins, however, has been the one leading the charge.
She averaged team highs of 18.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent from the field. She was named District 13 and Region 7 senior athlete of the year.
“The big thing is her confidence,” Waldal said. “She’s never had to do some things and she’s doing them now.”
That confidence has helped Dykins develop into Beach’s unquestioned leader.
“She’s a great leader,” Beach sophomore forward Cydni Stedman said. “She brings us together when we are down.”
Coming into the season, Dykins knew the leadership role would be thrust upon her. However, she said was more than ready for it.
“Bob always said I have to be the leader, I have to keep the girls up,” Dykins said. “It’s a good responsibility to have and it’s a good feeling that your coach wants you to be that person.”
If there are two things Dykins has been good at this season, it’s leadership and rebounding.
Dykins tends to play much bigger than her 5-foot-7 frame.
“She’s amazing at boxing out,” Beach sophomore guard Hailee Farstveet said. “I don’t know how she gets the rebounds, but she gets all the rebounds and is good at quick post-ups.”
Despite being the team leader in scoring, Dykins said rebounding is the part of basketball she enjoys the most. More than half of her rebounds come on offense, which have led to several easy, put-back layups.
“When I get a rebound, it’s something I feel good about,” she said with a smile. “It’s something every player should feel good about. I enjoy doing it and I think it’s fun.”
Without Dykins, Waldal doesn’t know if the Buccaneers would be playing No. 2-ranked Kindred tonight in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
Beach trailed Hazen 50-44 going into the fourth quarter of the Region 7 championship game and Waldal said Dykins took the opportunity to rally her teammates.
The Buccaneers went on to win 69-60. Dykins had 27 points and 10 rebounds.
“When we were we down against Hazen, she was the one in the huddle pushing her teammates,” Waldal said. “That’s a senior. She’s not going out without a fight. Thank goodness the kids rallied. I’m happy for all of them, but she doesn’t have any more opportunities and this is her team.”